Tom Harper, who heads the drive towards a circular economy at Unusual, said: "This is a huge deal for us as we are in our first year of implementing these changes to our business. The past twelve months have seen us become 55% renewably driven, having just received OFGEM status as a generating site for 100% renewable electricity. There is a still lot to be done - we're currently in the process of developing a metric system which will demonstrate just how we are refurbishing, re-manufacturing, reusing and recycling our products and how, by doing so we are extending the value of the company's assets."
The panel of judges, which includes Ida Auken, Rain Newton-Smith and Peter Lacy, also singled out Unusual for its focus on implementing key 'circularity loops' within the business. Through re-manufacturing and applying RFID technology, the company has been able to extend the value of all its equipment, ensuring it 'loops for longer', capturing greater embodied energy, as well as using ICT software to enable better tracking and servicing of all equipment. Unusual is also a key-co-creator and collaborator with SiPA (www.sipa.org.uk), an industry alliance launched in October 2015.
Tom, who will speak on the subject of the financial benefits versus the financial challenges of implementing a circular economy at a round table hosted by Banca Intesa and Accenture in London on February 8, is passionate to promote the benefits to all companies within the entertainment industry and beyond. "The idea is so simple - in a nutshell companies can extract further value from their products by a process of continuous value assessment, tracked by software emerging as a development of the internet of things (IOT). If you look at the time spent identifying which of your products can be re-used/ refurbished versus the cost of buying all new for each new project, the savings are evident."
"To receive such an accolade this early on in our efforts is hugely encouraging", said Tom. "Our focus for the next 5-10 years is to work with our supply chain - companies such as Doughty Engineering and Liftket - to share the processes with them so that we can collaborate on developing a robust reverse logistics system for all key materials. It's fantastic that we are seen as leading the way but the ultimate goal is that the techniques we are implementing right now will be regarded as common practice within the industry in the near future."