The circular economy

Create value and mitigate risk through circular business models

In the search for sustainable solutions to climate challenges, many organisations are embracing circularity to help them deliver on their net zero ambitions. However, any organisation that sets a net zero goal is embarking on its own business transformation journey. The shift to a more circular business model requires comprehensive transformation across your strategy, operations and supply chain.

With regulatory and resource pressures growing, organisations need to ensure they take action. Beyond mitigating risk and the regulatory imperative, consumers and stakeholders are increasingly focused on sustainability, and circularity can also be a source of significant commercial value.

“Circularity challenges the fundamentals of how many organisations do business today. We need to rethink how we define waste, and collaborate across industries and value chains.”

Andy MacGilp
Strategy& Partner, PwC UK

Delivering circular outcomes

Circularity is about minimising waste, conserving resources and reducing your environmental impact. Together, a focus on reduce, reuse, recycle and regenerate encourages responsible management of resources and waste reduction, delivering both commercial and climate outcomes.

Our circularity team has the blend of industry insight and regulatory, sustainability and strategy skills to help you make the shift to a more circular business model, and deliver both climate and commercial outcomes.

How is regulation impacting my organisation?

An increasing volume and complexity of regulation related to product end of life is prompting organisations to urgently address circularity to stay compliant. roader sustainability reporting requirements, such as CSRD, are leading to increased scrutiny of sustainability information that businesses will need to be ready to respond to. We can support you to stay ahead and confidently respond to evolving regulations.

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What are the advantages of moving to a more circular business model?

Beyond compliance, investors, stakeholders and consumers are all becoming more environmentally conscious. At the same time, pressure on resources is leading to rising costs and supply chain volatility for many businesses. This means that responding to climate challenges is becoming more central to how organisations maintain value and remain commercially viable. We can help you to develop your enterprise-wide strategy and deliver the business transformation needed to take commercial advantage of circularity.

How do I get started with circularity?

Many organisations find circular economy thinking appealing but the complexities of moving to a circular business model can be a blocker, not least because there often won’t be one clear person or department responsible for the transformation it demands. Our offering is a modular and end-to-end solution, offering a range of diagnostics, strategy development, transformation roadmaps, implementation and legal services to support you to take those first steps, embed circularity and deliver sustained outcomes.

Driving circularity with our clients

Driving ESG strategy from ambition to action with a global drinks brand

For the past five years, PwC has been the leading ESG advisor for a global drinks brand, completing over 30 projects covering carbon, commercial and operational strategy and sustainability reporting.

We supported our client to develop a comprehensive ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) strategy that encompassed the entire business, including its commercial, operational and supply chain aspects. PwC aimed to provide a holistic view of the carbon footprint across the value chain and translate technical carbon mapping into relatable factors and choices, underpinned by a custom-built decarbonisation tool. We also worked to identify and address trade-offs with commercial and operational strategies, ensuring consistency across business units and bottlers.

As an ongoing advisor, PwC completed various projects to support and deliver the brand's ESG goals alongside commercial and supply chain constraints and opportunities. Projects include identifying viable and profitable opportunities for refillable bottles across continents, mapping carbon drivers and evaluating options for strategy development, assessing the cost and implications of bottle return systems, and evaluating consumer acceptability and benefits of carbon reduction methods.

Analysis and strategic guidance on a national deposit return scheme

Deposit Return Schemes (DRS) are an increasingly popular way to incentivise people to return reusable packaging. We worked with a national scheme administrator on analysis, stakeholder management and design choices for the planned launch of a new scheme. In particular, the administrator needed support in setting a fee provided to return point operators that would broadly achieve ‘cost neutrality’ and not introduce undue complexity.

The PwC team used its expertise in organisational strategy, modelling and circular packaging to conduct a detailed overview of how scheme operators in other regions approached similar challenges. They collected data through surveys, store visits, expert guidance and international benchmarks and developed a model that analysed various factors affecting return point costs, such as return volumes, site type and location, and the pros and cons of each option.

Through this process, we were able to simplify a complex challenge into comprehensible value judgments and trade-offs and propose an innovative fee structure, as well as providing framing and narrative to help our client navigate the potentially contentious issue with their stakeholders successfully.

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Net Zero Transformation

End-to-end decarbonisation that moves you from ambition to action

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Environmental and Sustainability Legal Advice

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Unlocking opportunities and delivering real change for organisations, people and society

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PwC goes circular

For decades, global consumption has been built on a 'take-make-dispose' model. Now, innovative businesses are adopting 'circular' solutions, reducing material, water and carbon impacts.

At PwC, we're applying circular thinking to our operations, our procurement, and beyond. This site tells our 'Going circular' story so far.

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Contact us

Andrew MacGilp

Andrew MacGilp

Partner, PwC United Kingdom

Tom Beagent

Tom Beagent

Partner, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7973 565380

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