Over the past years, the footwear companies have been going trough a paradigm shift concerning the sustainability of its operations, resources management and environmental impact. Nowadays, “more than being aware of this reality, companies are adopting Circular Economy as business model”, stated Maria José Ferreira, the coordinator of CTCP’s (Footwear Technology Centre of Portugal) Environmental Area.
Why a Circular Economy?
Community-wide, the European project LIFE GreenShoes4All (LIFE17 ENV/PT/000337) aims “the implementation and dissemination of the ecological footprint methodology of footwear and the development of an efficient eco-design, recycling and production solutions”.
Within Portugal 2020, companies will receive support in the field of Circular Economy. To that end, the companies have to choose “to step away from the linear model, based on extracting, transforming, consuming and disposing, relying on the assumption that resources are abundant, easy to get and throw away”. As an alternative, “they should choose the Circular Economy, in which the planet’s environmental borders are respected by conservation and optimization of resources usage. The Circular Model involves the increase of renewable and recycled resources’ usage, the consumption reduction of raw materials and energy, and, at the same time, the decrease of emissions and material’s loss. The overall goal is to improve the efficiency and sustainability of all resources”.
Overall, it’s important to consider the eco-design, resources’ efficiency, waste prevention, recycling, management and new business models. These assume a fundamental role in the maintenance of the products’ utility and the value of products and materials in the economy, thus contributing to a more efficient resources’ management and sustainable development.
What is Circular Economy?
Circular Economy is a strategic concept that is based on the reduction, reuse, recovery and recycling of materials and energy. By replacing the linear economy through new "loop-flows" of reutilization, restauration and renovation on an integrated process, the Circular Economy is considered a key element to promote the dissociation of the economic growth and increasing resources consumption, which is so far viewed as relentless.
Being inspired directly by the mechanisms of the natural ecosystems, which have a long-term resources’ management through a continuing process of recycling and resorption, the Circular Economy promotes a reorganized economic model by the coordination of the production systems and consumption in closed loops. It establishes itself as a dynamic process that demands technical and economical consistency (productive capacities and activities) but also equally requires social and institutional context (incentives and investments).