Seb Beloe

The circular economy: How industry is emulating nature

In the early 1990s I was lucky enough to have been taught by an ecology professor who maintained that industrial systems would one day come to mirror the structure of natural ecosystems. He was referring in particular to the central role and extraordinary variety of ‘detritivores’ – organisms that break-down and recycle nutrients – and the almost complete lack of businesses in industrial systems that play this role.

Even at that time, starry-eyed environmentalists talked about a ‘circular economy’ in which waste was eradicated not just from manufacturing processes, but also throughout the life cycles of products and their components. Fast-forward to 2014, and the circular economy is attracting interest and investment from sectors as diverse as chemicals to cars, and from software to business services.

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Ben Goldsmith

Together in Electric Dreams?

The UK government has extended its financial support for electric vehicles by a further £500m, which is likely to accelerate the steady growth in this sector. Yet investors looking for low-risk growth should also consider the broader theme of vehicle efficiency.

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