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再制造、循环经济以及中国——访剑桥大学可持续领导力学院 | Remanufacturing, the circular economy and China

再制造、循环经济以及中国——访剑桥大学可持续领导力学院

James Beresford

10 December 2014


人口的不断增长给原材料供应和环境带来了压力,各个行业都在探索发展可持续的商业企业,并在这样的探索过程中努力挖掘其财务的潜力。James
Beresford与RIF交流了CISL在帮助像再制造这样的可持续性产业的过程中所扮演的角色。James是CISL的高级项目经理,
领导CISL的在线课程的设计和开发。James拥有伦敦帝国学院环境科技硕士学位以及英国剑桥大学自然科学学士学位。

RIF:
请您介绍一下CISL的主要工作。

James:
可持续领导力学院——或者称作CISL——是一个非常独特的地方。我们学院隶属于剑桥大学,它将学术界、企业和政策制定者汇聚在一起,
共同研究解决诸如气候变化和资源安全 等全球性的关键挑战所需要的领导能力。

我们帮助企业和商界领袖调整其增长目标,使之具有可持续性。这是因为我们认为,在提供向低碳和可持续发展的经济所需的技术、产品和服务方面,
私营企业将发挥核心作用。

我们为高层决策者提供了一个战略论坛,通过探讨创新而务实的方法来调和盈利性和可持续性——通过像威尔斯王子发起的业务和可持续发展计划(BSP)
这样的高层管理培训课程。BSP计划的目的是深化这些领导者对于其经营的事业所处的社会、环境和经济背景的理解,并帮助他们找到合适的回应方式,
可以使他们的组织、政府和社会作为一个整体能够受益。我们也通过我们的商务平台从领域和系统的层面为领导层提供支持,这个平台把商界领袖聚集起来,
应对快速发展的领域内共同的问题,如自然资本管理或者能源和气候变化政策等。

RIF:
CISL的工作在哪些方面涉及到再制造产业?

James:
通过我们的高层管理课程,我们与来自于资源密集型企业的高层决策者一起共事,所以我们经常会与再制造行业的客户合作。我可以举两个汽车和制造业的例子。
我们为汽车制造商捷豹路虎的不同的业务职能部门制定了一系列的方案,帮助其高层决策者对于他们所面临的可持续发展的挑战达成一个共识。
这些挑战包括受气候驱动的市场扰乱对业务带来的影响和获取原材料的渠道等问题。
这个过程使得可持续性的职能部门从企业内部其他业务职能部门那里获得了更为强大的牵引力。捷豹路虎一直专注于通过回收和再制造以确保铝的供应,
因为铝是汽车轻量化的关键材料之一,并且可以减少汽车生命周期内的温室气体排放。

地板砖制造商的先驱企业Interface公司向我们委托了一系列的课程,以帮助他们建立可持续发展的价值链的愿景。
我们叫来Interface公司和他们主要供应商的关键人物,让他们一起来建立共识和他们的共同愿景,以使其打造闭环可持续价值链的野心能够得以实施。
这样的对话对于建立信任和定位重新思考价值链的方式是至关重要的。我相信,对于打造韧性、开启制造的新途径以及支持向闭环经济的过渡等方面来说,
这种类型的合作伙伴关系是至关重要的。

RIF:
关于循环经济的重要性日益增加这个问题,您有怎样的看法?就这个问题您可以针对中国和再制造行业进行详细的阐述吗?

James:
大家都知道,中国的显著发展带动快速增长的材料消耗。中国目前水泥消耗量约占全球消耗量的一半,钢铁消耗量占30%,铝的消耗量占20%。
预计随着快速增长的家庭收入——在2012至2030年间可能会增加两倍——我们目前的发展方式将会给资源和生态系统服务带来前所未有的压力。在此背景下
,循环经济的概念为减少原材料供应中的材料消耗提供了机会,减少对原材料的提取和对相关的环境外部性的依赖。
中国领导人已经认识到了这种方式对于实现资源利用效率和提高制造业竞争力方面的价值,并将材料回收利用和产品再制造纳入到十二五规划中。

RIF:
CISL的工作与中国和循环经济相关的部分有哪些?CISL的可持续性研究是否也有涉及到中国政府?再制造是否有被纳入进来?

James:
今年CISL已经为一些来自中国的企业和政府领导人团体开展了若干高管课程,包括中国的一个主要银行的领导,几位市长和政府高级官员,
以及一个杰出企业协会的若干成员。

在这些课程上,我们挑战参与者,让他们在一套包含其他方法(如产品租赁)的组合当中去考虑循环经济和再制造业务模式。
我们相信对于当前和未来的商界领袖来说,"生命周期思维"是一个简单但极其重要的技能,当然对于其他组织中的人士来说也是如此。我们的在线课程"
商业与可持续发展规划在线"是专为满足这一需求而设计的,并通过远程学习使得一个组织当中更为广泛的人群都能够参与进来。平台已经可以引进一批案例分析,
使得参与者能够通过模拟实践、角色扮演和组织评估来掌握生命周期思想。

至于更为具体的项目,我们的剑桥大学内的地位使我们能够吸收世界领先研究人员的研究成果以及他们对于再制造所处角色的见解。

RIF:
发展循环经济和再制造所面临的最大挑战是什么,包括在全球范围内和在中国?

James:
引用威廉•吉布森一句著名的话,他说:"未来已经来临,它只是分布得还不太均匀。"当我们在地球上寻找可以保持经济运转的技术上、组织上和行为上的改变时
——比如一个稳定、适宜居住的气候,充足的淡水等等,同时满足人类的发展需求——这一点似乎是真实的。很多的想法和创新——包括循环经济和再制造业务模式
——都已经存在,只是没有开展到足够的规模。巨大的技术和商业模式的创新到处都在不断涌现,其中也包括中国——正如"可持续发展解决方案100"(
Sustainia
100)列表所展示的。当然剑桥充满了新的创新。就在最近,我看到一个刚刚启动的工程部门Reduse,它的"unprinter"设备赢得了种子资金。
这个设备可以将打印的内容从纸张上剥离,使得纸张不需要回收循环就可以在办公室打印中重复使用。

诸如此类的创新技术只有在它们能够迅速扩大规模的时候才可能取得进步——当然这当中会有很多系统性的挑战。
要想重塑已经统治了过去250多年的线性生产模式,需要公共政策的变化,以创造一个有利的环境,并使用需求和消费者行为得到改变——简而言之即转型变革。

人们不会惊讶于我们把教育视为解锁新思路、建立对上述转型变革的共同理解的关键。决策者不得不应对全球"中产阶级"的不断增长、城市化水平的提高、
资源压力、不稳定的气候破坏以及水和粮食安全问题所带来的影响。为了与这个大背景相抗衡,任何能够提供重要资源和碳效率的创新——
从每单位材料吞吐量中创造更多的经济价值,从废物中创造价值——都开始显现出清晰的商业意义。

RIF:
请问这些企业在与CISL的合作中获得了什么?一个再制造公司又可以通过与CISL合作获得什么?

James:
正如我刚才所说,我们经常与再制造的客户合作。要了解他们从合作关系中收获了什么,我认为最好直接去听听这些公司自己的声音。下面我引用塔塔集团的一员,
捷豹路虎(JLR)公司的可持续发展经理伊恩•埃里森对于一个定制的剑桥高管教育项目的评论。

"在全球体系压力的背景下,为了其成员和合作伙伴,捷豹路虎可持续发展委员会需要一个手段来在可持续性问题上迅速达成共识。

这个项目不仅激发了与会代表对于可持续发展的理解和热情的欲望水平,而且还触发了相应的后续行动,
其中包括以前并非以可持续性的活动为中心的职能部门的更深层次的参与。

事后经过再三思考,在对于可持续性的理解和参与上面,很难想象除此以外我们还能带来如此的跳跃性的改变。其影响将会惠及诸多利益相关方,包括客户、
员工以及JLR的供应链。"伊恩•埃里森,可持续发展经理,捷豹路虎。


 

 

Remanufacturing, the circular economy and China

James Beresford, Senior Programme Manager

10 March 2015


With raw material supplies and the environment feeling the strain of a burgeoning population, various industries are exploring sustainable business ventures and realising the financial potential in such endeavours.

James Beresford spoke to Reman Industry Focus (RIF) about the role the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainabiity Leadership (CISL) plays in aiding sustainable industries such as remanufacturing. James is a Senior Programme Manager at CISL, leading the design and development of CISL's online courses


RIF: Can you tell me a bit about the work of CISL?

James: The University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership – or CISL as we're known – is quite a unique place. We are an Institute within the University of Cambridge, which brings together academia with business and policy makers to develop the leadership capacity required to tackle critical global challenges such as climate change and resource security.

We help businesses and business leaders to align their growth ambitions with sustainability. We do this because we believe the private sector will play a central role in delivering the technologies, products and services required to transition to a low carbon, sustainable economy.

We provide a strategic forum for senior decision-makers to explore innovative and pragmatic approaches to reconciling profitability and sustainability – through executive education programmes like The Prince of Wales's Business and Sustainability Programme. The programme is designed to deepen leaders' understanding of the social, environmental and economic context in which they operate and helps them respond in ways that benefit their organisations, governments and society as a whole. We also support leadership at the sector and systems level through our business platforms, which convene business leaders to tackle shared problems within rapidly evolving areas such as natural capital management or energy and climate change policy.

RIF: In which situations has CISL's work been involved with the remanufacturing industry?

James: Through our executive programmes we work with senior decision-makers from resource-intensive companies, so we often work with the customers of the remanufacturing industry. I'll give you two examples from the automotive and manufacturing industries. We delivered a series of programmes for different business functions from car manufacturer Jaguar Land Rover to help senior decision-makers develop a common understanding of sustainability challenges, including the business implications of climate-driven market disruptions and access to raw materials. This process has enabled the sustainability function to gain much stronger traction with other business functions internally. As you may know, Jaguar Land Rover has focused on securing the supply of aluminium through recycling and remanufacturing and aluminium is a key material for light-weighting their vehicles and reducing lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions.

Interface, the pioneering carpet tile manufacturer, commissioned a series of programmes to support their vision of a sustainable value chain. We brought key individuals from Interface together with their main suppliers to build common understanding and a shared vision to operationalise the ambition of a closed-loop, sustainable value chain. These conversations are crucial to build trust and identify ways to re-think the value chain. I believe this type of partnership will be crucial to building resilience, unlock new ways to manufacture and support the transition to a closed-loop economy.

RIF: Can you tell me about the growing importance of the circular economy? Can you elaborate in relation to China and furthermore remanufacturing?

James: As we all know, China's remarkable development has driven rapid growth in material consumption, with China now accounting for about half the world's cement, 30 per cent of steel and 20 per cent of aluminium. With household income projected to grow rapidly, perhaps tripling between 2012 and 2030, our current development pathway will place unprecedented strain on resources and ecosystem services. Within this context circular economy concepts provide an opportunity to decouple growth in material consumption from raw material supply, in the process reducing extraction of raw materials and associated environmental externalities. Chinese leaders have recognised the value of this approach, both in terms of achieving resource efficiency and boosting the competitiveness of the manufacturing sector, and incorporated recycling materials and remanufacturing of products within the 12th Five-Year Plan.

RIF: Can you tell me about CISL's work related to China and the circular economy; I believe CISL's sustainability work has involved the Chinese government? Has remanufacturing fitted into this?

James: This year CISL has run several executive programmes for groups of business and government leaders from China, including a major Chinese bank, mayors and senior government officials, as well as members of a prominent entrepreneurs' society.

On these programmes we challenge participants to consider circular economy and remanufacturing business models amongst a portfolio of other approaches, such as product leasing. We believe 'life-cycle thinking' is a simple but fundamentally important skill for current and future business leaders, and indeed people across organisations. Our online course the Business & Sustainability Programme Online is designed to meet this need and to reach a wider range of people within an organisation through remote learning. The platform has been developed to introduce a number of case studies to engage learners in life-cycle thinking through simulations, role-play and organisational assessment.

For more specific engagements, our position within the University of Cambridge enables us to draw on world-leading researchers and incorporate their insights into the role of remanufacturing.

RIF: What are the biggest challenges facing the development of a circular economy and remanufacturing, worldwide and in China?

James: There's a great quote from William Gibson that says "the future is already here, it's just not very evenly distributed." This seems to be true when we look for the technological, organisational and behavioural changes that will keep economies operating within planetary boundaries – a stable, habitable climate, sufficient freshwater, etc. – while meeting human development needs. Many of the ideas and innovations – including circular economy and remanufacturing business models – are already in existence, just not deployed at an adequate scale. Great technological and business model innovations are emerging everywhere, including China – as the Sustainia 100 list demonstrates. Of course Cambridge is brimming with new innovations. Just recently I saw that Reduse, a start-up grown from the Engineering department, won seed funding for its 'unprinter' device that strips the print from paper so it can be printed on again in the office, without recycling.

Innovations such as these will only move the dial if they can be scaled rapidly – and of course there are many systemic challenges to doing so. Reshaping the linear production model that has dominated the past 250 years or so will require public policy changes that create an enabling environment and shifts in demand and consumer behaviours – in short transformational change.

It will come as no surprise to hear that we see education as key to unlocking new thinking and building a shared understanding of the transformational change required. Decision-makers have to engage with the implications of a growing global 'middle class', increasing urbanisation, resource pressures, destabilising climate disruption and water and food insecurity. Set against this backdrop, any innovations that offer radical resource and carbon efficiency – creating more economic value per unit of material throughput, and creating value from waste – start to make clear business sense.

RIF: How have companies gained from working with CISL? What could a company, which remanufactures, gain from working with CISL?

James: As I mentioned earlier, we often work with the customers of the remanufacturing industry. To understand what they get from the relationship, I think it's best to hear directly from one of the companies themselves. The following quote is from Ian Ellison, Sustainability Manager at Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), part of the Tata Group of companies, following the delivery of a custom executive education programme at Cambridge.

"The JLR Sustainability Committee needed a means to rapidly develop a common understanding of sustainability issues, in the context of global system pressures, for its members and close associates.

Not only did the event instill the desired level of understanding and passion amongst delegates but it triggered appropriate follow-on actions (which) included much deeper engagement with several functions not previously central to sustainability activities.

On reflection, it's difficult to imagine how else we could have brought about such a step change in understanding and engagement, the repercussions of which will be enjoyed by many stakeholders, including customers, employees and the JLR supply chain."

Ian Ellison, Sustainability Manager, Jaguar Land Rover


First published in Reman Industry Focus.

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