Circular business expert Nancy Bocken studied remanufacturing strategies for European Remanufacturing Network
Business has a lot to gain from remanufacturing
It is estimated that in Finland alone, with 5,5 million inhabitants, 100,000 tons of furniture is thrown away every year. Finish supplier of office furniture Martela tries to reduce the mountain of discarded furniture by taking back and remanufacturing its tables, chairs and other furniture. In 2014 the company received 3,000 tons of used furniture and resold 20,000 pieces to new users.
Martela designs its products in such a way that apart from usability, good ergonomics, and aesthetics that they are easy to disassemble and upgrade, including, reusable packaging. The Martela case is one of the best practices of designing for remanufacturing collected by the European Remanufacturing Network (ERN). The EU-funded project researched between 2015 and 2017 the opportunities for the European manufacturing industry by driving remanufacturing activities throughout Europe.
Part of the research for ERN was done by Nancy Bocken, Sharon Prendeville and David Peck from TU Delft. Bocken, who is one of the speakers at WDCD Live Amsterdam, in the video gives an overview of the opportunities of remanufacturing for business. The ERN website features a very practical Remanufacturing Tool, leading to case studies in different industries that demonstrate how remanufacturing can help businesses.
The ERN recently published its report with recommendations and the project has also led to the establishment of the Conseil Européen de Remanufacture (European Remanufacturing Council) representing companies which produce €30 billion of remanufactured products and employ 190,000 people across Europe. The aim of the CER is to increase to 5 per cent the proportion of manufactured output that achieves an extended life through remanufacturing. The current rate is a mere 2 per cent.
Nancy Bocken’s career in sustainable business research began at the School of Business and Economics in Maastricht, where she obtained a Master of Science in 2005. With another master’s in economics and management at the Sorbonne in Paris, she set her sights on an Engineering PhD from the University of Cambridge, which she completed in 2011.
Today Bocken is Associate Professor at the Industrial Design Engineering department at TU Delft while she also holds positions as a Senior Research Associate at the University of Cambridge and Fellow at the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL). She will soon leave Delft, though, for a full professorship at the International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics (IIIEE) of the Lund University in Sweden.