The U.S. Materials Marketplace offers a creative route to economic growth without depleting precious natural resources or damaging the environment.
Materials that would ordinarily be dumped as trash find new life thanks to the Marketplace, which matches one business’s industrial waste with other businesses that can use it for profit. Pollution’s reduced and the companies benefit.
The U.S. Materials Marketplace won the 2016 award for Circular Economy Digital Disruptor, one of the “Circulars” awards given at the annual World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland. “Disruptor,” as used here, refers to innovative perspectives or tools that improve upon old ways of doing things.
— BASF North America (@BASFCorporation) January 25, 2016
In the cloud
The U.S. Materials Marketplace is a cloud-based digital platform where users post details about waste materials they have — or need — and work out mutually acceptable transactions. For example, Joe’s T-shirt factory may have fabric remnants that Anna’s yarn factory can use. When the yarn factory uses them to make a new product of value, it’s called “upcycling.”
On accepting the Circulars award, Andy Mangan, co-founder and executive director of the U.S. Business Council for Sustainable Development, one of the project’s chief collaborators, said there are several reasons that now is a good time for business innovations. “These include the growing corporate buy-in, the evolving sophistication of intelligent software and the momentum of climate change solutions coming out of the Paris agreement,” he said.
A global effort
The U.S. Materials Marketplace developed software jointly with the the U.S. Business Council for Sustainable Development and the China Business Council for Sustainable Development. They developed it under the U.S.-China Strategic & Economic Dialogue’s EcoPartnership project in Qinhuangdao, Hebei province, between 2013 and 2014.
The U.S. Materials Marketplace is a project initiated by the U.S. Business Council for Sustainable Development, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the Corporate Eco Forum. Founding companies include Alcoa, Armstrong World Industries, BASF, Dow Chemical, Goodyear, Novelis, Procter & Gamble and Tetra Pak.
After its successful trial run in 2015, the U.S. Materials Marketplace plans to extend its reach to new, global supply chains.
“Business has a critical role in making the transition to a sustainable and thriving economy,” said Peter Bakker, head of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. Creating value from waste products is one way to do this.