The world is facing an urgent need to shift towards a circular economy, and the plastics industry is no exception. As the industry strives to reduce waste and promote sustainability, it requires a workforce with new skills and expertise.
To recruit and develop this workforce, companies need to embrace a new approach that emphasizes sustainability, interdisciplinary skills, ongoing training and development, innovation, and relationship-building.
In this context, the recruitment process for the plastics industry workforce needs to evolve to reflect the changing demands of the industry, and companies must take proactive steps to attract and retain the best talent.
A Greener Horizon
Environmental concerns play a major role in driving the transition towards a circular economy. The traditional linear economic model, based on a take-make-dispose approach, has led to a significant depletion of natural resources and has created an immense amount of waste, pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions. According to research conducted by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, by 2040 a circular economy has the potential to:
- Reduce the annual volume of plastics entering our oceans by 80%
- Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25%
- Generate savings of USD 200 billion per year
- Create 700,000 net additional jobs
The circular economy model seeks to reduce the environmental impact of economic activities by designing ways to limit waste and pollution, keeping materials and products in use, and regenerating natural systems.
Resource Management is a Must
Resource efficiency is another key driver of the circular economy.
As the world’s population and economy continue to grow, the demand for natural resources is also increasing. However, many of these resources are finite, and their extraction and use can have negative environmental impacts. The circular economy aims to create a more efficient use of resources by reusing and recycling materials and products, reducing the need for virgin resources and minimizing waste.
The Spirit of Creation
Finally, the circular economy can offer significant economic benefits, such as cost savings, job creation, and new business opportunities. By redesigning products and processes to be more circular, companies can reduce material and energy costs, improve resource security, and create new revenue streams.
Additionally, the circular economy can stimulate innovation, as companies seek to create new business models, products, and services that are more sustainable and resource efficient. Some examples of this would include:
- Resource security: The circular economy can improve resource security by reducing reliance on virgin resources and minimizing waste. This can help businesses manage supply chain risks and reduce exposure to price volatility and resource scarcity.
- Competitive advantage: Companies that adopt circular strategies can gain a competitive advantage by differentiating themselves from their peers and responding to changing consumer preferences. This can help them attract new customers and retain existing ones.
- Improved brand reputation: By adopting circular practices, companies can improve their brand reputation and enhance their social and environmental credentials. This can help them build trust with stakeholders, including customers, investors, and employees.
The transition towards a circular economy is driven by a combination of environmental concerns, resource efficiency, and economic benefits. This not only helps to address environmental challenges but also creates significant economic benefits, such as cost savings, job creation, new business opportunities, resource security, and improved brand reputation.
For more information on attracting the next generation of talent in the plastics industry, please click here.