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Interdisciplinary Circular Economy Centre for Mineral-based Construction Materials

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Focus Area 3A – New business models/enablers for circular MCMs

This focus area aims to identify opportunities, barriers, critical success factors, and key circularity indicators for the adoption of CEBMs to create, deliver, and capture value in MCM supply chains.

 

3a

Description

Existing Circular Economy Business Models (CEBM) are generic and therefore difficult to enact across different materials and sectors.  Therefore, the development of a CEBM Canvas to drive circularity in mineral-based construction materials (MCM) supply chains is needed.  

This project, led by Dr Jacob Mhlanga at Loughborough University, will aim to identify CEBM opportunities, challenges, enablers, circularity strategies and circularity indicators to facilitate the development and adoption of a CEBM Canvas in MCM supply chains. 

He has completed a comprehensive literature review on the existing MCM business models, CE principles, CEBM archetypes, and their opportunities, challenges, and associated enablers. He has also explored the extant waste management practices in the gypsum industry and the potential of infinitely recirculating of the gypsum products in their highest value.

Here are the key points:

  • The dominant business models in the MCM sector follow a linear model (take-make-dispose) resulting in waste generation and pollution at the end of the product life.
  • A shift towards CEBM in the MCM sector is necessary to reduce the environmental strain of continued extraction of virgin materials, waste generation and pollution through recirculating MCM products in their highest value in a closed loop system.
  • Gypsum is infinitely recyclable, but the current studies indicate that gypsum waste still finds its way to the landfills. It appears the lack of collaboration across the supply chain hinders recovering and recycling post-consumer gypsum waste.
  • A CEBM Canvas informed by the plasterboard supply chain actors across the life cycle stages can potentially close the gypsum waste leakage and thus increase the circularity of the sector and open new circular economy business opportunities. 

Jacob will be hosting two sequential workshops which will be attended by members of the plasterboard supply chain groups to collect data for developing a Plasterboard CEBM Canvas. 

The first workshop will examine the CEBM opportunities, challenges, and enablers across plasterboard’s life cycle stages.  The second workshop will explore the circularity strategies and indicators to inform the 9 components of the Plasterboard CEBM Canvas i.e., value proposition, key activities, key resources, key partnerships, channels, customer relationships, customer segmentation, cost, and revenue structures.

In 2025, Jacob will undertake his placement at Saint Gobain, a designer, manufacturer and distributer of sustainable construction materials and solutions, where he will be implementing and validating the Plasterboard CEBM Canvas in an industry context.