Tuesday June 30th, 2020 ARCO LAB

Circular Innovation: cities, supply chains, environment and quality

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Circular transition at urban level

Cities are the main drivers of economic development and the production districts introduce a bio-uniqueness principle among the urban and industrial dimension at a territorial level. The circular economy offers great opportunities for innovation and sustainability of cities and their production systems. Allowing companies to identify and exploit these opportunities helps speed up the transition. This also means enhancing all the initiatives developed by virtuous organizations at micro level translating them into a wider system that favors symbiotic phenomena.
The development of more sustainable consumption patterns among citizens is an additional opportunity to move the economy in a circular direction. Cities are able to help, motivate or push their citizens in this direction.
At urban level, we support local decision makers for the definition and implementation of innovation, regeneration and cohesion policies:

  • • Innovating processes: rethinking production processes in a circular way considering the product’s life cycle. A better legislation can facilitate the recovery and reuse of waste and by-products, better funding can help adopt less impactful technologies, better knowledge can affect organizations on the one hand and citizens on the other to drive more informed consumption.
  • • Regenerate the city: unused or underused spaces and buildings must be rethought and destined for new productive, recreational and social functions. Better legislation can help in temporary or permanent change of destination, better funding can contribute to the necessary adjustments, better knowledge can push more aware citizens to reclaim “forgotten” places.
  • • Increase cohesion: by promoting participatory processes and active citizenship within the cities, it may contribute to improving the quality of life and collaboration at all levels.
circular economy innovation and sustainable commodities research training consultancy services arco arcolab

Sustainability of the production chains

Each step of a product’s life cycle, from the provision of raw materials and commodities to design, from production to distribution, must minimize the amount of resources and at the same time the waste produced.

“To make all the products, all the goods, there are raw materials and resources, but also stories of people and workers, of more or less fortunate inventors, of more or less successful ideas”
Giorgio Nebbia

We design and implement appropriate strategies for the economic, social and environmental sustainability of the supply chains at Italian level and in contexts of international cooperation. We explore the various factors that impact on the sustainability of the production chains, identify potential areas of intervention, and put forward proposals that are based on the proactive involvement of producers.
We perform research and provide support services to both decision-makers and the various actors involved in production chains.

Our primary activities include:

  • ♦ Needs analysis
  • ♦ Analysis of the relationships between local stakeholders and producers
  • ♦ Analysis of international markets in relation of different commodities
  • ♦ Product characterization
  • ♦ Training on issues related to the sustainability of the supply chains and good manufacturing practices

Innovation, environment and quality

Organisations engaged in sustainable practices should create a storytelling on a product or service in order to explain how it relates to circularity. Among the methods SMEs can use for external communication to main stakeholders, there are certifications, labels and traceability.

The application of an effective traceability system could be potentially implemented through innovative solutions like the blockchain. In fact, by its own architecture, this technology could offer, in fact, an affordable solution to both SMEs enterprises and large organizations in an original and innovative way, contributing to the diffusion of circular economy practices.

Recently, a renewed attention to local and national production (also aiming the support of local economy) has paved more attention at the quality of production, but also at the environment protection and fair labour. Increasing the circularity contributes to the active participation of stakeholders and to the valorisation of waste through innovative productions.

Our primary activities include:

  • ♦ Implementation of integrated management systems according international standards
  • ♦ Labelling and traceability
  • ♦ Sustainability report
  • ♦ Academic lectures, vocational trainings, dissemination events

For further information:

Leonardo Borsacchi
Unit Coordinator
leonardo.borsacchi[at]unifi.it

Daniela Tacconi
daniela.tacconi[at]acolab.org

Patrizia Pinelli
Scientific Coordinator
patrizia.pinelli[at]unifi.it

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