Steward Assets


Better manage the energy and materials used throughout the life cycle of your products and services.

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Generate sustainability benefits and cost savings through innovative ways of extending the useful life span of products and through end-of-use value recovery.

Identify opportunities for supply chain circularity

By adapting business models and processes, you can identify opportunities to loop products, components, and materials back into your supply chain to be reused, refurbished, or recycled. Implement deposit-refund schemes and buy-back programs to incentivise product returns.1 2 3 Explore contracts that operate as products-as-a-service models like renting, leasing, and subscriptions and consider how your business could maintain stewardship over key materials and components throughout the life cycle. Value recovery also applies to unsold, returned, or defective products. Although it may be convenient to destroy surplus products or hold onto surplus equipment, there are financial and reputational costs associated with doing so.4 You can make better use of these resources by disassembling and reusing them, de-branding and donating them,5 or selling them at a discounted rate.6

EXAMPLE: Taking Care of Business partners with retailers to address waste from dead stock

Taking Care of Business partners with South African retailers to address excess merchandise that has been returned by customers or hasn’t been sold in a season. Retail partners and manufacturers donate unsold and returned products. Items and sorted and debranded. Under-employed individuals with an entrepreneurial spirit are provided with training and access to capital to develop businesses based on repair and resale.7

EXAMPLE: Audi explores second-life opportunities for EV batteries

Audi has partnered with start-up, Numan, to explore how EV batteries can be given a second life after their car life cycle. The project is repurposing used battery modules from Audi’s e-tron test fleet to power electric rickshaws in India.8

EXAMPLE: Jaguar Land Rover collaborates to create a closed-loop aluminium supply chain

The REcycled ALuminium CAR Project is a collaborative effort between automotive manufacturer, Jaguar Land Rover, and its rolled aluminium supplier, Novelis, to create a closed-loop value chain for aluminium. This case study shares the lessons learned on collaborating for value chain transformation, which is broadly applicable across sectors.9

EXAMPLE: Philips refurbishes and upgrades used equipment

Philips has a reuse business model for medical equipment such as MRI and CT scanners. It works by allowing hospitals to trade in their used equipment in exchange for a discount on the latest technology. The used equipment is looped back into Philips’ supply chain so that it can be refurbished and upgraded. It is then sold to new customer segments at an affordable price.10

EXAMPLE: HP moves to a product-as-a-service model for printer ink

HP Inc. has transitioned from selling printer ink cartridges to offering “‪Instant Ink”, an ink subscription service. This service model helps reduce environmental and financial costs by using larger cartridges (fewer shipments & packaging) and ensuring used ones are recycled.11

Extend the life span of products and equipment

Extend the useful lifespan of your products by ensuring that end-users are empowered to maintain, repair, or upgrade products and equipment.12 End-users might be your customers who you can empower by ensuring they have access to the parts, tools, and knowledge needed to extend useful life. For indirect procurements the end-user is your business. You can empower the business function that is using this equipment by ensuring they know that parts, tools and knowledge are available to them. The key to making this work is to ensure it is more economical for end-users to repair than to replace. You may choose to create evaluation criteria to help decide when it is environmentally more favorable to maintain or replace equipment.

EXAMPLE: Fairphone enables simple DIY repair

The cellphone company, Fairphone, drives supply chain circularity by offering customers affordable spare parts and tutorials for simple do-it-yourself repairs that extend product lifespans.13 The company also supports the reuse and recycling of old phones through a take-back program.14 15

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Resource Efficient Business Models Guides

This two-part tool by REBus provides practical, road-tested guidance on implementing resource efficient business models (REBMs) from a procurement and supply chain perspective. The first part demonstrates how your procurement processes can be leveraged to make use of REBMs. The second part is designed to support suppliers in adopting REBMs.

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Case studies: Resource Efficient Business pilots

A list of case studies by REBus showcasing how resource efficient business models (REBMs) can be implemented in practices across various sectors.

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Circularity Check

This questionnaire by Ecopreneur can be used to assess the circulatory of a specific product and/or service. It will provide you with a circularity scores based on a set of 60 questions.