The World Economic Forum in Davos â€“ one of the most important business events on the planet â€“ paid tribute to the sustainable, or rather, the circular economy at its latest meeting between 17 and 20 January 2017.
The circular economy represents the future of public and private industry. Based around the concept of making better use of scarce resources and characterised by a strong sense of environmental and social responsibility, this new approach portrays companies as active components in the social fabric â€“ with a direct responsibility for the development of society.
Itâ€™s time to forget invasive industries authorised to take advantage of the land and its riches. Nowadays, companies are required to act with attention and care.
This commitment â€“ to minimise environmental impact and find new, sustainable business models â€“ was celebrated in Davos by The Circulars, an awards ceremony launched by the World Economic Forum and the Forum of Young Global Leaders. The initiative recognises companies in the public and private sectors which have excelled in the fields of innovation, sustainability, social responsibility and the environment.
Now in its third edition, the awards â€“ which offer international recognition and visibility â€“ are split into six categories, with separate prizes for visionary leaders, multinationals, small businesses and public bodies who have distinguished themselves for their approach to business. And like all self-respecting competitions, The Circulars also includes a peopleâ€™s choice award.
So, without further ado, here are the seven winners from the 2017 edition:
1. The Fortune Award for Circular Economy Leadership
Won by William McDonough, the Chief Executive of McDonough Innovation, a leading name in the world of sustainable development renowned for having introduced the concepts of biological and technical cycles to the circular economy.
2. The Accenture Strategy Award for Circular Economy Multinational
This award was shared by two winners. The first was NIKE, which was honoured on account of its commitment to production efficiency, reducing waste and controlling its environmental impact. It is an impressive application of the principles of the circular economy, one which has allowed the company to double its turnover. The second company honoured was Patagonia, a business with sustainability written into its DNA. It was recognised for its Worn Wear project, which is based around recycling and lengthening the lifecycle of its products.
3. The Young Global Leaders Award for Circular Economy SME
This award was won by MBA Polymer, which explores innovative solutions for recycling plastic and transforming plastic waste into valuable raw materials.
4. The AB InBev Award for Circular Economy Governments, Cities and Regions
The Scottish Government scooped this award on account of its Zero Waste programme, which has stimulated the circular economy in Scotland and encouraged companies from a range of sectors to adopt sustainable approaches and set ambitious objectives for the future.
5. The CNBC Award for Circular Economy Investor
This prize was won by SJF Ventures, which invests in circular economy companies. This successful strategy combines the realisation of ambitious financial objectives with an onus on society and the environment.
6. The Ecolab Award for Circular Economy Digital Disruptor
This award was won by Rubicon Global, one of the worldâ€™s leading providers of innovative waste and recycling solutions. The company has created hi-tech solutions to promote the reuse of materials, harnessing the power of cloud computing and big data and bringing consumers into contact with carriers.
7. The Dell Circular Economy Peopleâ€™s Choice Award
Finally, the Peopleâ€™s Choice award was won by the Bioelektra Group, a waste management and recycling company which has developed a solution for reusing urban waste without the need for a separate waste collection system.
The circular economy is a diverse, global panorama within which Italy is taking on an important role. For example, Enel Spa was named among the finalists in the Multinational category in recognition of its commitment to using renewable energy sources and progressively abandoning coal. Enelâ€™s energy revolution has the ambitious objective of increasing clean energy usage by 30% in the next three years, from 37.3 to 47.8 gigawatts.