Three large companies challenged talents to come up with innovative ideas for a more sustainable and circular business.

Reduce carbon emissions

ZON Fruit & Vegetable is international sales organization for a cooperation of around 290 fruit and vegetables producers. It is a huge logistical food hub located in Venlo where fresh fruit and vegetables are processed and sold every day. ZON recognizes that the world around them is changing. Part of their corporate strategy is to take their corporate social responsibility. Over the last years they have been experimenting with small scale sustainable initiatives. However, a coherent sustainable strategy has not yet been formulated.

ZON’s participation in the Venlo Circular Challenge is first step in creating this strategy. They have formulated a bold ambition: to reduce the total CO2 output of their organizational processes by 50% in 7 years.

Making old energysystems sustainable

Office Depot’s European Headquarters 20.000 m2 is located in Venlo and houses 1000 employees. The office complex was constructed in 6 phases between 1995 and 2001. As a result of this, the complex is a collection of different parts, systems and installations. This fragmented setup of scantly interconnected systems is not efficient and there is a lot of room for sustainable and circular improvements. Parts of the system are ready to be replaced and now that the construction phase is complete, the opportunity is there to look at all the six buildings as one closed system. This is perfect moment for circular and sustainable investments. However, using new sustainable or circular systems is often more expensive than buying less sustainable or resource efficient systems. Office Depot is a publicly listed company, its shares are sold and bought on the stock exchange. In this business environment, short term profits and financial results are more important for the top management layers than long term business and sustainability goals.

Changing the quality perception of remanufactured parts

Océ is a global leader in digital imaging, industrial printing and collaborative business services. As a member of the Canon Group, Océ develops, innovates and provides products, services and technologies for large format, continuous feed, cutsheet and sheetfed printing, and document and workflow management.  Part of their sustainability and circular economy strategy is to maximize the re-use of used parts. Parts-for-reuse are old service parts and parts taken out of equipment  which are returned to Océ at the end of the equipment’s life. Océ invests in a quality remanufacturing and refurbishment process to make these parts as good as new. The remanufactured parts are used as service parts and sold with the same quality as new parts. A great example of applying circular economical principals in a manufacturing process. However, there is a problem. Customers when presented with the choice of buying a new part or a remanufactured part of the same quality, still choose to buy the new part. The customer of the parts seem to have different perception of the value of remanufactured parts. Remanufacturing old parts and re-using them in new equipment is a perfect way to contribute to the Circular Economy and boost the resource efficiency of Océ.