Re-thinking how we manufacture industrial products and deal with them at the end of their useful life could provide breakthrough environmental, social and economic benefits. Adopting value-retention processes is a win-win situation for governments, industry and customers. Governments would have less waste to deal with, generate green jobs, and stimulate economic growth; industry could lower production costs, avoid resource constraints on business growth, and open new markets; and customers could benefit from lower prices for refurbished products.

    Did you know?

    Adopting “value-retention processes” could also reduce greenhouse gas emissions in some sectors by 79 to 99 per cent.

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    If products were re-manufactured, re-furbished, repaired and  re-used, the amount of new material needed could be reduced.

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    Currently, re-manufacturing accounts for only 2 per cent of production in the United States, and 1.9 per cent in Europe.

    The report

      There is growing international interest in the concept of circular economy as a framework for pursuing sustainable economic growth and human prosperity.

      A key aspect of circular economy, well-aligned with current objectives of resource efficiency and resource productivity, is the concept of value-retention within economic production-consumption systems. Value-retention processes, such as remanufacturing, refurbishment, repair and arranging direct reuse, enable, to varying degrees, the retention of value, and in some cases the creation of new value for both the producer and customer, at a reduced environmental impact.

      This report connects the potential for resource efficiency, via circular economy and the processes that retain product value within the systems, with a policy-relevant lens. The report is one of the first to quantify the current-state and potential impacts associated with the inclusion of value-retention processes within industrial economic systems. In order to do that the assessment applies the different value-retention processes to a series of products within three industrial sectors and quantifies benefits in relation to the original manufactured product, such as the material requirement, the energy used, the waste as well as the costs and the generation of jobs.

      The report also highlights the systemic barriers that may inhibit progressive scale-up including regulatory, market, technology and infrastructure barriers, and how they could be overcome.

       

      The full report should be referenced as follows: IRP (2018). Re-defining Value – The Manufacturing Revolution. Remanufacturing, Refurbishment, Repair and Direct Reuse in the Circular Economy. Nabil Nasr, Jennifer Russell, Stefan Bringezu, Stefanie Hellweg, Brian Hilton, Cory Kreiss, and Nadia von Gries. A Report of the International Resource Panel. United Nations Environment Programme, Nairobi, Kenya.

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