Steven Whitehill is a KESS II (Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarship 2) PhD student at Swansea College of Art, University of Wales Trinity Saint David
This project explores the challenges facing manufacturing companies in transitioning to a circular economy business model. Partnering with an established company, Orangebox, this research seeks to understand and explore the real-world circumstances facing such firms.
Orangebox are a market leading company who design and make furniture for office environments. They have made great strides in embracing new ways of working and are drivers of change through their own research and design. They have long-held aspirations regarding sustainability and have implemented re-manufacturing programmes for products as well as other initiatives such as cradle to cradle analysis, and environmental assessment of all their new products. They now want to move further towards a fully circular economy business model and this research is aimed at enabling that aspiration to become more concrete.
The research will seek to describe and understand the particular barriers and obstacles facing Orangebox and other established manufacturing companies in their desire to move toward a fully sustainable business model, which will give both environmental benefits as well as associated health and wellbeing improvements for Orangebox, their customers and the wider community.
The research objective is to provide practical solutions that enable Orangebox to progress towards a circular business model. This may be in the form of technical solutions relating to particular materials or products, or the production of a set of guidance tools to provide a systems approach for the business.