The Circular Economy Presents a Clear Path to Reducing Climate Change

  • Celestica  |
  • 2022-12-12
Cicrcular Economy

The typical product lifecycle resembles a straight line that begins with the extraction of raw materials from the earth and ends when the product reaches its end-of-life and is disposed of or recycled. In many cases, this model contributes to climate change by increasing pollution, waste, energy consumption, and hastening the depletion of natural resources. Recycling alone won’t halt this trend. Meeting the Paris Agreement’s goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and reversing climate change is a critical step that will require companies worldwide to embrace Circular Economy practices.  

The Circular Economy represents a radical transformation of the entire product development lifecycle. From design and engineering methodologies, through manufacturing and delivery, and Maintenance Repair and Operations (MRO), the Circular Economy focuses on product life extension with an emphasis on reuse or resale into secondary markets over recycling or disposal. Secondarily, when recycling and disposal are required, it is done using best practices that minimize environmental impacts.   

Where to Begin?
Celestica mapped its circular economy initiatives to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), specifically, those that address issues around energy conservation, economic growth, sustainable production and consumption, climate change, and preserving the world’s water. 

Celestica’s Global Services team advises customers on how to make measurable progress on achieving their sustainability goals by taking a circular approach to product design. This requires strategically building products to last by maximizing performance while accounting for reuse and recyclability so the user does not have to accept performance or functional degradation at any point in the product’s lifespan. To achieve this, we focus on design, manufacturing, and lifecycle services while minimizing or effectively eliminating cost premiums to enable decision making at scale where small cost adders have significant near term implications.  

Products that are effectively designed and built using circular principles enable businesses to optimize their reuse. Doing so extends a product’s lifespan beyond its initial use case and facilitates our customers’ ability to generate multiple revenue cycles. Leveraging our extensive network of value-added resellers, we help our customers to prioritize upcycling - the process of recapturing components and materials so they can be reused to create new products of greater value and utility - giving products new life in different industries or applications. This approach enables our customers to amortize both their manufacturing carbon footprint as well as their total cost of ownership (TCOOTM) across a prolonged period of time, keeping products in use longer.

“Celestica’s engineering teams engage with our customers throughout the product development lifecycle to incorporate modularity into product designs, delivering subdesign and individual component reuse across multiple applications,” said Gavin Cato, Head and CTO, Hardware Platform Solutions at Celestica. “This forward looking insight into reuse is one of many ways we help our customers develop circular models to manage products through manufacturability, simplified maintenance, optimal reuse, and upcycling, which each play key roles in sustainability practices. Hyperscale data centers, in particular, present an opportunity to drive transformation by prioritizing longer lifecycles and multiple uses, which inevitably requires remanufacturing and upcycling. Everyday, Celestica brings to the table its significant experience across the enterprise and data center markets to help improve the environment for current and future generations.”

The Time is Now
Progress towards a global Circular Economy is necessary to put consumption on a sustainable path in line with the earth’s regenerative capacity. 

The good news is that companies across multiple sectors including technology, consumer goods, and waste management have started on the path to circularity and are forging alliances such as the Circular Electronics Partnership (CEP) and the Climate Neutral Data Centre Pact to advance the maturation of the Circular Economy by setting high bars for best practices and aggressive reuse and repair targets. 

Celestica is committed to empowering our customers to advance their sustainability goals by providing the platform solutions and services which enhance the Circular Economy. Our lifecycle extension capabilities and after-market support, alongside our decommission and upcycling services, improve material efficiency, reduce waste, and leverage re-manufacturing processes to build more sustainable products and create new revenue-generating opportunities which maintain and service previous generations of products well into their second and third lifecycles. By approaching the full product lifecycle with circularity in mind, we fully support our customers on their journey to circularity while enabling them to achieve their financial and sustainability objectives.    

“Our approach includes rethinking our own business around circularity,” says Rob Ellis, Celestica’s Senior Vice President of Sustainability and Chief Legal Officer. “There is an unmet need for full lifecycle circularity that focuses on eco-effectiveness, not just eco-efficiency. We’re implementing a different vision where everything we do is circular by design and with what’s best for each of our customers and their individual sustainability goals.”