The transition to a more circular economy, where the value of products, materials and resources is maintained for as long as possible and waste generation is minimized, is an indispensable component of the European Union’s efforts to develop an economy that is sustainable, releases few carbon dioxide emissions, uses resources efficiently and remains competitive.
The transition to a circular economy offers an opportunity to transform the economy and generate new sustainable competitive advantages. This transition is based on a few fundamental concepts:
- the phases of the product life cycle;
- The efficient management of resources in production processes;
- industrial symbiosis;
- consumer choices;
- the durability of the products;
- innovative forms of consumption;
- waste management;
- secondary raw materials;
- closing cycles.
The phenomena described above pose a series of challenges to production and distribution companies in terms of the managerial and economic skills needed to set up effective strategies at various levels of business management: from research and development to technological innovation, from procurement to production, from human resources management to marketing and communication. All these processes must be effectively reinterpreted in a green key, providing corporate functions with the tools to effectively manage them in order to meet the challenge of environmental sustainability also in competitive terms.
Among the main challenges posed by the circular economy there are, therefore, those related to the improvement of some key actions of circularity, such as: re-use, re-manufacturing, re-designing (RE-actions); de-contrstucting, dis-assembling, de-taching (DE-actions). Alongside them, then, the theme of Knowledge and Education becomes central.
What the studies conducted so far on what are the skills and education useful to the Circular Economy show is that it is necessary to think in terms of system (system thinking) and in terms of design (design thinking) and be able to address the syphons from multiple perspectives. The levels at which these competencies operate include knowing, doing, and feeling.