Using the modified tool, we interviewed 30 small hotels and guest houses.
Only one is situated in a sea resorts and have 4 stars rate. All the rest are small ones with 2 and 3 stars rate and under 1000 m2 space. Just 6 hotels are between 1000 and 1600 m2. Most of hotels are new ones, constructed after year 2000, just 4 are before that date. Most of the hotels are keeping the same rate of reservations for the last 2 years, but some have fewer reservations in 2017, compare to 2016.
The consumption of energy corresponds with the number of reservations, but is much well visible in the amount of saved energy when the reservations are less, and not so visible in increased number of reservations. That conclusion corresponds also with the results of hotels implementing saving energy policy. Similar results in consumption of water – corresponds with the number of reservations, but also with the implementation of saving water policies. Most of hotels are using electricity for heating, but fortunately most of it is higher efficient air-conditioning.
The picture of waste management is not very good – 61% of the hotels are not implementing source separation of the wastes. Only 4 hotels are using private company service for waste management, all the rest are with municipal service.
Most of hotels are providing local food and most of them are composting bio wastes.
The managers of the hotels have good understanding of the benefits of the implementation of circular economy practices and try to implement , according thir financial resources, as much as possible techniques for saving energy, water and reducing wastes, using the products from bio wastes in agriculture, training the personel and stimulating guests to be environmentally friendly.
GREECE - Central Macedonia Region
In total, within one month, the tool was applied to 4 SME’s in the Region of Central Macedonia belonging to 4 of the RIS3 of Central Macedonia "champion" sectors. Specifically, the enterprises according to their sector are:
The companies participated actively and pleasantly in the implementation of the tool. The entrepreneurs were (some more than others) aware of the notion of Circular Economy and in many cases have incorporated relevant actions both in the production process and in the management of their resources and waste. These meetings, they said, were particularly useful to them and they were interested in further updates on Circular Economy.
Nevertheless, informing entrepreneurs with regard to social data that have financial return was considered particularly useful.
2. The data collected included certain assumptions to be made by the consultants on behalf of the SME managers/owners so that the tables could be completed. Specifically:
- In the cases of expenditure, responses were easily obtained and data was collected for all the categories. Unfortunately, financial liquidity in the country leaves little room for predictions as most companies are unsure of their viability and revenue, so they find it difficult to think about buying machines, renovations, upgrades, changes and improvements.
- Further explanation on the effect of SR(E)OI is needed as the utility of the tool is not easily understandable by the entrepreneurs.
The predefined templates were generally easily filled in during meetings with SME managers. Some more specific comments are:
1. The templates for stakeholders involved mainly general questions whose answers were not always related to the concept of circular economy.
2. The indicators refer to data that can easily be found.
3. In Template 3 the role and the objectives of stakeholders needed to be analyzed. In this template it was not possible to analyze 5 stakeholder personas from different categories.
ITALY - Emilia Romana Region
The tools created within CESME have been tested on an Italian company, located in Emilia-Romagna Region and belonging to the Local Support Group. EDILTECO operates in the building sector having 26 employees and meeting a sales revenue of 5.893.000 e in 2016. In particular, the company produces materials for insulation (thermal, acoustic, vibration, fire protection). The resources used during the production process include natural inert resources (sand, clays, waste), synthetic resources (polymers), labour and technological know-how.
Edilteco is a company strongly committed to environmental sustainability of products and process. Here are some of Edilteco initiatives targeted to increase sustainability, listed in an increasing order of innovativeness:
It is interesting trying to understand why the company has decided to become “greener” (this part matches with “establish the company goal” phase of the tool). Edilteco has always paid attention to the reduction of its environmental impacts, it is within the company policy targets. Besides the commitment for environmental sustainability, the company is pursuing a green/circular business also because of profitability related to the following key-factors:
-The use of recycled material has become compulsory for those who want to participate to public calls
-Public authorities have now the possibility to assign higher scores to those offers including use of sustainable materials
-At least 50% (in weight) of building components must be disassemblable
Recovered or recycled material must be at least 15% (of the weight) of the total amount of the material used for the building.
3. A growing “green” awareness of the consumers turned the environmental aspects into a priority for the company, which wants to satisfy the requests coming from a more sustainable consumption model.
Green Profile assessment tool
This tool could be very useful for those enterprises which can be considered “absolute beginners” for the Circular Economy and that need to be guided step by step. With a company like Edilteco, which has already a deep awareness of sustainability of products and process, some steps can be skipped and we can jump directly to the tools that are more useful. For example, we find the identifications of the business models very useful, by means of the cycle image of the web-tool (Circular Economy Toolkit):
Each business model has some peculiarity and it is very important to define the model a case study refers to. The cycle helps for categorizing all business models related to circularity, so it represents a good baseline for further reflections. The discussion with the company leaded to the following categorization of the 3 above-mentioned initiatives of sustainability:
-LCA analysis could be considered similar to the target of the tool, as they can both be useful for the definition of the business model: LCA supports in the identification of those areas in which the environmental impact must be decreased and sustainability must be improved; for instance, if the result of the LCA analysis shows that the lifecycle phase with the biggest environmental impact is transport, the company will choose “Distribute” as the business model to work on. Obviously, the LCA analysis is more detailed as it provides quantitative information whereas the web tool provides a qualitative overview; on the other hand, the web tool is free and doesn’t need a consultant to be carried out
-both initiatives of the company for the introduction of recycled materials could be categorized in the business model “Design”.
Another interesting point arisen from the discussion with Edilteco is that a company could develop more than one business model. The business model is often connected to a specific product and not to the whole company; for example, the product design within the project MAS.TER.PIECE contains recycles materials (“Design” business model) but it has also been conceived for an easier and shorter laying from the users (“Use” business model).
Social and Environmental Return On Investments
For every business model it is very important to develop a return on investment model. When the ROI is from 3 to 5 years, we can label the situation as a “Win-win” situation, which is the best condition to foster and spread circular economy as the economic benefits are clear for enterprises. Environmental and social values are harder to express and insert in the model.
Some difficulties have been encountered during the application of the SEROI tool:
- to find a shared and institutionally approved value for CO2 emissions
- to add the resource value in the «use» phase during the life cycle (e.g. water and energy consumption)
- to add the waste disposal cost (more difficult)
- Local community
- Customers/end users
In our case study, we have identified for each value category (economic value, social value, environmental value) the following Circular Impacts:
- Costs related to the management of waste (incoming recycled material)
- Increased sales for new “green” products
- Ability to meet the need of all customers (building companies) that have to comply to new GPP requirements (in relation to the use of recycled material)
- Interest from the territorial industry of the olive oil, that can turn a waste into a resource
- waste diverted from landfill
- virgin material savings
- energy and water savings.
We have then tried to identify appropriate indicators with a market value or ‘proxy’, enabling us to measure the impact that matters to each stakeholder and to compare social, environmental and economic outcomes and values, as requested from the tool. This image shows the result :
Lessons learned and follow-up activities
The application of the tools to the company has been very useful as we introduced the business models in the discussion about circular economy: we understood how much we need to discuss with them about economic issues/benefits in order to foster circularity.
The tools should be used with an external support from a territorial/business agency as it is quite a long process and the language is very technical, therefore a sort of “translation” is needed.
Not all the phases have the same importance, it depends on the level of “maturity” of the company about circular economy. In our experience two steps are fundamental:
The other steps of the tools could be defined as secondary and filled out only when relevant (example: social issue, stakeholder definition).
For these reasons, we have revised the tools with the aim of making them more understandable and user friendly for local companies (translation to Italian included). We have kept the web assessment tool in order to have a support for the definition of the business model; we have then designed a working tool that will combine business models and companies’ business plans. The current version will be presented during the next Local Support Group meeting and it will then be tested on some companies.
DENMARK - North Denmark Region
The use of the modified Cesme tool kit in Denmark took place in the 'RebuyBaby' company. The company provides a service concept where the customer subscribes to high branded children's clothing meaning that every month the customer receives a shipment with “new” clothing adjusted to the age of the child (currently supported is 0 to 2 years) and the season (summer, fall, winter, spring) and every month the customer returns the last months shipment of clothing back ReBuyBaby.
The returned clothing is washed, cleaned and checked for damages and are then shipped out to the next customer/subscriber. It is expected that the clothing can be re-used and re-shipped 3-4 times before the quality perception for high branded clothing runs out. After expiration the clothing are handed over to different charity organizations where the clothing typically is sold or auctioned away.
The findings based on the screening tool show that it would be useful to sort out waste from the “production” into plastic and paper and then reuse it and/or recycle it. In addition, one could appeal to the producers that they only deliver in bulk and no single wrapping in plastic bags. Besides the frequency of the shipment could be increased to reduce fuel and carbon footprint from the transportation forth and back to the customers.
The experience with the actual tool indicates that the different areas and subjects in the tools have different relevance depending of which type of product you produce and business model you are in like production, trade or service etc.
ReBuyBaby was open for recycle discussions and the tool turned out to be a good “ice-breaker” to fuel the discussion.
FINLAND - South Ostrobothnia Region
The Finnish partners (PP5 and PP6) have not tested the CESME toolkit with a local SME during the first phase although a lot of research and assessment for the tool have been done. As part of the development done with the regional action plan the external expert VTT has evaluated the usefulness of the toolkit and created a Finnish user guide for its use.
In the comments received from the external expert, the toolkit is highly an ambitious and complicated tool that still needs quite a lot of further development in order to be used in professional work. The pit falls of the tool lie especially in the ROI-method. Evaluating the sustainability impacts of new products or processes is not an easy task and therefore the abilities to find and choose the right indicators and especially evaluating the values for the indicators demands a great amount of expertise and background material. This means that there are quite a lot of requirements for expert who is applying the tool with the local SMEs. The first parts of the tool, however, seem to work better and have received more positive comments. The methods used to assess the green profile and to develop actions to enhance the sustainability and green profile of the companies are much simpler and straightforward to apply.
In order to test and apply the toolkit more thoroughly the Finnish partners have applied for a pilot project from the Interreg Europe programme. In the pilot the toolkit would be adjusted so that it could be used by the local business developers and other applicable actors. During the pilot the toolkit would be also tested in local SMEs.
UK - Wales
The tool was tested prior to the Finland Inter-regional meeting and a presentation of the feedback was provided at the meeting. The person testing the toolkit has extensive experience working with SMEs on resource efficiency. The toolkit will be examined further by members of the LSG, and will be trialled with some of the companies some of them are supporting.