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Kingfisher CEO Sir Ian Cheshire: circular economy, a world where creating and using products wastes nothing

London, UK, 2014-1-24 — /EPR Retail News/ — Innovation is critical to what we want to do as a business: making it easier for people to have better homes and better lives.

In turn, it is through innovation that we will build our future as a business. We believe that closed loop thinking has the potential to be a game changer for our innovation. That’s why it’s a pleasure to be sharing with you here the first lessons from a revolution in innovation.

Closed loop thinking – also known as the circular economy – is an idea for a different way of doing business. It underpins our vision for Net Positive Innovation, a world where creating and using products wastes nothing. Over the last few years, we’ve been working with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation to pioneer this new thinking. It’s already clear that this is an idea that engages people and inspires change.

For me, one of the most exciting things about closed loop innovation is that this is going to drive the next generation of business growth for Kingfisher. Why? Put simply, if done well, closed loop innovation can cushion our business from price volatility, provide us with competitive advantage, help us to enter new markets and enable us to build better relationships with customers and suppliers. If we can make closed loop a reality in our business – pushing ourselves to develop new closed loop products and services, showcasing what’s possible and encouraging suppliers to innovate – I believe that in five or ten years’ time, we can become famous as a market-leading closed loop business.

To close the loop, we must think differently – right from the initial design phase through the entire manufacturing process. It will require new business practices, such as ‘take back’ services. We can’t perfectly close every single loop in one go. By taking the first steps, however, what we can do is radically cut the amount of resources, energy and costs involved and potentially create new forms of income.

Our target is to get to 1,000 products with closed loop credentials by 2020. I could argue that out of our 40,000 products, that level of ambition is not enough. This first phase is about developing pathfinder ideas for closing the loop at Kingfisher, getting  our supply chain engaged in creative new ways of operating, and activating the collective brains of 80,000 people across the Kingfisher Group to work on this  challenge. In this booklet, we highlight some of the key projects we’ve undertaken to close the loop in our innovation. Already there are some others in the pipeline, including some in early stage development supported by funding from the UK Government’s Technology Strategy Board. These are the foundations for making a circular economy a practical reality.

EPR Retail News