Access economy

DEFINITION: 

A business model that gives customers access to goods and services rather than outright ownership. The access economy refers to renting assets on a temporary basis, producing environmental benefits through reduced mass consumption. Companies such as AirBnb, ZipCar and Uber are good examples of the access economy in practice.

See also: Circular economy

See also: Sharing economy

See also: Servitisation

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In numbers: Are businesses and consumers ready for the circular economy shift?

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Pictured L-R: ClimateCare CEO Vaughan Lindsay; IFC director Ousseynou Nakoulima; Interface's Erin Meezan; Vattenfall's Annika Ramskold and Futerra's Solitaire Townsend discussing how businesses can respond to the climate emergency. 

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The ACEA represents carmakers including Ferrari, Groupe Renault and Volkswagen 

Carmakers renew calls for low-carbon revolution as grim sales figures loom

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The Prince of Wales launched his Sustainable Markets intiative in Davos

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Unlike previous ambitions, Microsoft's new target covers Scope 3 emissions. Pictured: Microsoft's flagship UK store on Oxford Street, London. 

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Pictured: The refill station for bulk goods that will be installed for the trials. Image: Asda

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Amid a turbulent year for the UK's car industry, electric car registrations skyrocketed 

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Car giants 'driving with the brakes on' towards climate goals, report warns

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Image: World Economic Forum. CC BY 2.0

UN appoints Mark Carney to help finance climate action goals

Mark Carney has been appointed as UN special envoy for climate action and finance as he prepares to step down as governor of the Bank of England in January.

Green Friday: The retailers championing sustainability over spending for Black Friday 2019

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The aim of the boxes is to mitigate food waste and make nutritious products more affordable. Image: Morrisons

Morrisons launches discounted boxes of food past 'best before' date

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Emissions from the livestock sector are estimated to account for 15% of the global total. 

Report: Food giants must go beyond plant-based products to climate-proof global systems

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Northcote will be speaking at edie's Sustainability Leaders Forum in February 2020

John Lewis & Partners: Net-zero a commercial opportunity for business

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Credit Suisse unveils SDG-aligned consumer fund to accelerate circular economy shift

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Pictured: Inside Newlife stores' shop in Moreton, Merseyside. Image: Newlife stores

'Pre-cycling': Closed-loop scheme for surplus fashion stock grows

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Gough believes that corporates must make capitals thinking a core foundation for business decisions, rather than keeping it within a trial or side-project

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The retailer claims that the removal of 5p carrier bags alone could save five tonnes of plastic annually, if scaled up nationally. Image: John Lewis & Partners.

John Lewis trials swathe of new recycling and reuse offerings

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The new PCR bottles will be rolled out across Dove's original range, plus its Baby and Men+ products. Image: Dove

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FCA launches new measures to tackle 'greenwash' as green finance booms

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Adidas of any condition will be accepted - but they have to have been purchased in the UK within the past five years. Image: LWARB

Infinite Play: Adidas launches buy-back platform to combat fashion waste

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Waitrose ditches plastic shrinkwrap for can multipacks

Waitrose & Partners has removed the plastic wrap from several of its best-selling multipacks of canned products, after consumers branded it "unnecessary".

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PZ Cussons launches hand wash refills to slash plastics packaging

Healthcare and consumer goods giant PZ Cussons has launched its first hand wash refill offering, as it strives to reduce the amount of plastics used in its packaging by 25% by 2025.

Howard Boyd (left) gave a keynote speech on the state of climate risk reporting. Image: Sarah George

Environment Agency targets net-zero by 2030

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Farfetch launches 'on-demand' donation service in circular fashion drive

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(L-R): BlackRock fund manager Evy Hambro; Ellen MacArthur Foundation chief executive Andrew Morlet; BlackRock fund manager Sumana Manohar and The Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s executive lead for plastics, fashion and finance, Rob Opsomer. 

BlackRock launches its first dedicated circular economy investment fund

The world's largest asset management firm, BlackRock, has launched its first investment fund dedicated to accelerating the global development of a circular economy.

Burberry believes that keeping its products in use longer will play a key role in reducing its end-to-end carbon emissions. Image: Burberry 

Burberry forges resale partnership in bid to 'make fashion circular'

Luxury brand Burberry has signed a partnership to sell its second-hand products through consignment marketplace The RealReal in the US.

Image: EcoAct 

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Survey: Half of passengers use Uber over environmental concerns

Around half (47%) of UK adults who regularly use Uber have claimed they do so due to their concerns around environmental issues, it has been revealed, in the same week that the ride-hailing giant's London licence was extended.

The refill station will open to the general public on Saturday (21 September). Image: OneGreenBean/The Body Shop

The Body Shop: Demands for plastic-free shopping have 'come full circle since the 1990s'

EXCLUSIVE: The Body Shop's decision to begin offering plastic-free refills at its refurbished Bond Street store was largely driven by changing demands from its shoppers and staff, the brand's managing director has told edie.

EDF is the long-term supplier of the car manufacturer. Image: Nissan

Nissan and EDF partner to launch V2G EV charging offer for businesses

Nissan and EDF have signed an agreement to collaboratively develop and launch a "smart" electric vehicle (EV) charging package for businesses, including vehicle-to-grid (V2G) capacity.

Selfridges believes the pop-up supports its vision of a department store being "=a social centre, not merely a place for shopping". Image: Selfridges 

Second-hand September: Selfridges hosts clothing resale pop-up

Luxury department store Selfridges is showcasing second-hand clothing at its flagship store as part of a collaboration with resale platform Depop.

Farmers will visit the unit at least twice a week to harvest.  Image: M&S/Samuel Cane

M&S showcases vertical farming at London store

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Greenpeace had been campaigning for supermarkets such as Sainsbury's to introduce refillable packaging. Image: Sainsbury's 

Sainsbury's to launch refillable lines in bid to halve plastics packaging

Sainsbury's has confirmed that it will launch refillable versions of products such as milk and fizzy drinks in the coming years, as it strives to halve the amount of plastics it uses for packaging by 2025.

The new target builds on those already set separately by individual bus firms. Image: Arriva 

UK bus industry targets petrol and diesel phase-out

Organisations representing more than 95% of the UK's bus industry have pledged to only invest in low-emission vehicles from 2025, over concerns surrounding climate change and air pollution.

Londoners and those aged 65 and over were particularly loath to change behaviours

UK public unlikely to change habits despite concerns about environment

People are reportedly reluctant to adopt environmentally friendly lifestyle changes despite claiming to care more about damage to the natural environment than ever before.

The new feature will be rolled out across 30 countries in the coming weeks. Image: Google

Google unveils 'green' Maps feature to encourage low-carbon travel

Tech Google has added a new feature to its Maps service, enabling users to add last-mile ridesharing and biking options to journey plans.

The pop-up will open daily until September 30. Image: Asda

Asda forays into second-hand clothing market

Asda is trialling its first second-hand clothing offering in the hopes of gauging consumer attitudes to a more circular fashion economy.

Pictured: Members of the Business Roundtable meeting with then-president Barack Obama in 2013. Image: Pete Souza for the White House 

Business must place purpose before profits, top CEOs urge

The chief executives of more than 180 corporates have begun to lobby for other big businesses to stop maximising profits for shareholders at the expense of the environment or society.

OVO Energy has a long history of minimising the carbon impact of its products through renewable energy procurement 

OVO Energy moves to lower climate impact of its marketing

Independent energy provider OVO Energy has unveiled a string of new measures to reduce the resource and carbon impact of its marketing, including an offsetting scheme and a "no-flights" policy.

H2 of 2018 was widely regarded as a difficult period for green finance, but the market is showing signs of resurgence 

Reports: Sustainable finance 'growing rapidly' in Europe

Europe's sustainable finance market experienced "rapid" growth during the first half of 2019, despite a challenging end to 2018, new analyses have concluded this week.

The new packaging formats include recyclable aluminium cans, bottles made using bioplastics and recycled PET, and a packaging-free dispenser option. Image: Dasani 

Coca-Cola unveils 'largest sustainability initiative' to date for water packaging

The Coca-Cola Company has unveiled a string of updates to the packaging used across its Dasani water brand, in a bid to minimise its plastic footprint.

The commitment covers all shipments to and from customers, for whole devices as well as replacement parts and accessories. Image: Alphabet Inc. 

Google targets carbon-neutral hardware deliveries

Tech giant Google has unveiled a new string of sustainability pledges for its hardware, including a commitment to make all customer shipments carbon-neutral by 2020.

The survey cohort included a mix of big-name corporates and independent SMEs 

Survey: Retailers believe transformational sustainability will take years to achieve

Two-thirds of UK retailers believe it will take three years or more to transform their business models, processes, operations and products for holistic sustainability, a new survey has found.

Refillable containers will be showcased alongside products at the participating stores. Image: Waitrose & Partners

Waitrose to extend plastic-busting refill scheme

Waitrose & Partners is set to extend its 'Unpacked' offering of packaging-free, refillable products, following a successful trial of the concept at its Botley Road store in Oxford.

M&S has 23 Market Place counters across the UK, all located in busy town and city centres. Image: M&S

M&S launches reusable container discounts to cut plastics waste

Marks & Spencer (M&S) has this week launched a discount scheme to incentivise the use of reusable containers at its in-store Market Place counters.

Three-quarters of Unilever's 2018 turnover growth was accounted for by brands in its Sustainable Living portfolio

Unilever warns it will sell off brands that hurt the planet or society

Unilever has warned it will sell off brands that do not contribute positively to society, with British favourite Marmite and Magnum ice-cream among the big names thought to be vulnerable to a cull linked to the company's sustainable business agenda.

Humanity currently uses 1.75 Earths' worth of resources annually - which could rise to two Earths' worth by 2030 if businesses, governments and individuals don't make radical circular economy shifts 

Earth Overshoot: Seven top tips for making your business 'one-planet compatible'

Held to mark Earth Overshoot Day 2019 (29 July), edie's most recent webinar saw experts from Tesco, AB Sugar, Global Footprint Network and Centrica Business Solutions discuss how businesses can operate within planetary boundaries. Here, edie rounds up the key takeaways.

London is one of 13 European cities which has already implemented restrictions on petrol and diesel vehicles

Bloomberg: Petrol and diesel bans reaching critical mass in European cities

Businesses with fleets across mainland Europe will have to phase out petrol and diesel vehicles within a decade or risk losing business in key cities, new research from Bloomberg has suggested.

One-planet compatibility is also a way to demonstrate companies’ comprehensive contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the report added

Earth Overshoot Day: What is the business case for one-planet compatibility?

Monday 29 July will mark Earth Overshoot Day - the day that humanity uses up all of the planet's natural resources for the year and the earliest it has ever occurred. In response, a new whitepaper explores how business can champion energy efficiency and the circular economy to become one-planet compatible.

The first 50 chargers are due to be installed within the next three months 

Mitchells & Butlers to host rapid EV charging network

Pub and restaurant chain Mitchells & Butlers is set to install up to 200 rapid electric vehicle (EV) chargers across its UK estate, as part of a partnership with BP's Chargemaster arm.

Other signatories to the commitment include Kering, Marks & Spencer, Gap and Adidas

Fashion giants 'must 'urgently accelerate circular economy action'

Of the 213 circular economy targets for 2020 set by 90 big-name fashion companies taking part in a collaborative circular economy campaign, just one-fifth (21%) have been met.

The index was launched today (8 July) by London Stock Exchange Group subsidiary FTSE Russell

'World's first' climate-based government bond index launched in London

Global index and analytics giant FTSE Russell has launched a new bond index which weights products on how prepared their respective governments are to mitigate and adapt to climate impacts.

Thomas noted that businesses needed to get better at providing relevant data to investors. Image: GFI

What does the Green Finance Strategy mean for business?

Following the launch of the UK Government's Green Finance Strategy, the chief executive of the Green Finance Institute has outlined how climate disclosure, policy signals and a robust business case for sustainability will transform how corporates engage with the finance community.

Eight reasons why green finance is becoming mainstream

Halfway through London Climate Action Week and it seems that sustainable finance is the hot topic. Here, edie explores the key drivers behind why green finance is growing from a niche interest to a business-critical concern.

Dr Lee noted the need for more robust carbon pricing. Image: IPCC

IPCC chair: Global transition to net-zero 'not a burden' to the economy

The chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Dr Hoesung Lee, has dismissed fears from investors and nations that reaching net-zero emissions will place too much strain on the global economy.

The company’s “inclusive capitalism” business model is described growing while creating positive value for all its key stakeholders, such as  “understanding the needs of low-income consumers in emerging markets” and providing relevant solutions

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EXCLUSIVE: Fragrance & flavour company Firmenich is using an "inclusive capitalism" business model to deliver benefits for profits, the planet and people in a way that is causing others to "rally" behind the concept of sustainability.

Communications around the airport will encourage customers to return their cups to "check-in points" across the facility before they board 

Gatwick hosts UK's first airport-based reusable coffee cup trial

The UK's first airport reusable coffee cup trial gets under way this week at Gatwick, offering passengers the opportunity to borrow and return refillable cups in a bid to help cut waste and tackle "throwaway" culture.

Loose items will be priced by weight during the trial 

Groceries 'Unpacked': Waitrose pilots packaging-free refill offering

Waitrose & Partners has started offering packaging-free refill options for hundreds of its own-brand lines, as part of a trial to gauge consumer appetite for container reuse and plastic-free sundries.

More than 300,000 tonnes of used clothing is estimated to be landfilled in the UK every year

Fashion retailers team up to trial new closed-loop business models

A coalition of fashion retailers including Ted Baker are set to pilot more resource-efficient business models, such garment repair, resale and rental, to determine whether they are economically viable solutions to the sector's waste challenges.

The pilot project will launch on 17 June and run for 11 months

Toyota to pilot blockchain-powered peer-to-peer energy trading

Carmaker Toyota is set to trial a blockchain-enabled peer-to-peer energy trading system which enables businesses, homeowners and electric vehicle (EV) drivers to exchange surplus power.

Mission Possible: The 2019 report

This exclusive edie report showcases world-leading and potentially game-changing examples of sustainability in action across the Mission Possible campaign's five pillars: Energy, Resources, Mobility, The Built Environment and Business Leadership.

<p>This week has seen Farfetch launch its first resale service, Second Life, and join the Ellen MacArthur Foundation's 'Make Fashion Circular' initiative </p>

How Farfetch is uniting designers, retailers and shoppers to create a circular fashion economy

EXCLUSIVE: Digital fashion platform Farfetch has been serious about the circular economy since its foundation. But amid growing demands for more ambitious action on waste, its chief sustainability officer has told edie that the firm now views resale and repair as an "amazing commercial opportunity".

Registration for the free-to-attend show is open for sustainability, energy and environment professionals

Lucy Siegle confirmed for Sustainability Keynote at edie Live 2019

Renowned ethical living and environmental journalist Lucy Siegle completes a star-studded line-up of expert speakers appearing at the UK's largest sustainability and energy exhibition, edie Live, as it returns to the NEC Birmingham on 21-22 May.

The climate turning point: 8 sustainable business gamechangers for 2020

With the UK having just declared a climate emergency and Government advisers calling on policymakers to set a net- zero carbon target by 2050, edie's latest report explores eight potentially game-changing innovations that will help businesses lead the charge towards the so-called 'climate turning point'.

The oil and gas, consumer goods, industrial and healthcare sectors were deemed to be at high financial risk from natural impacts such as extreme weather events and biodiversity loss

Three-quarters of UK FTSE All-Share firms 'highly dependent' on natural capital

Almost three-quarters (74%) of UK businesses listed on the FTSE All-Share Index have been dubbed "potentially highly dependent" on natural resources such as clean air, water and soil in a new study on nature-related business risks.

The coalition was founded at the Paris One Planet Summit in 2017 and is convened by Banque De France

Coalition of central banks urge finance sector to 'raise the bar' on climate action

A coalition of 36 central banks and regulators, including the Bank of England and the World Bank, have issued a rallying cry urging all stakeholders across the global sector to address climate challenges by "greening" the financial system.

In 2018, Bank of America deployed more than $50bn on projects that impacted areas outlined by the SDGs. Image: Bank of America

Bank of America commits $300bn to sustainable finance

Bank of America has issued its third commitment to sustainable finance, pledging to mobilise an additional $300bn (£230bn) in capital by 2030, with a previous commitment set to be achieved six years ahead of schedule.

Refill was initially launched in Bristol by City to Sea founder Natalie Fee, and underwent a UK-wide roll-out in 2017

Why Refill is turning to transport 'hubs' to slash plastic bottle use

EXCLUSIVE: Since its launch in 2017, City to Sea's Refill campaign has spurred dozens of independent businesses and high street chains to offer free water bottle refills. But as it strives to meet its 2021 ambition of having locations in every town and city, its key focus will now be engaging the transport sector.

Ikea's 'People and Planet Positive' strategy includes a 2020 target of producing more renewable power than it uses

Ikea reveals mixed progress towards 'climate-positive' and circular economy goals

The world's largest furniture retailer has revealed that 70% of the materials used to make its products during 2018 were either renewable or recycled, as it strives to reach the 100% mark by 2030.

BNP Paribas aligns with SDGs and Paris Agreement in new sustainability strategy

French banking giant BNP Paribas has outlined its latest strategy to accelerate its commitment to sustainable development.

The pilot scheme's approach has been described as “going beyond simply aiming to minimise impact

Alpro and WWF pilot new nature-focused science-based target scheme

A pilot project has been set up to take science-based targets to the next level and "respect planetary boundaries" by WWF and food and drink firm Alpro.

IONITY's first UK chargers are currently being installeed in Gretna Green, Scotland, and Maidstone, Kent

IONITY one year on: How carmakers are delivering on Europe's 'super' EV charging network

EXCLUSIVE: Just over a year ago, a group of the world's largest carmakers launched IONITY - a joint venture with the single aim of creating a pan-European "super" network of rapid electric vehicle (EV) chargers. But with its 2020 deadlines now looming, edie explores how the firms are progressing towards this aim.

Creating a sustainability culture in the construction industry involves going

How to build a sustainability culture within the construction industry

Following edie's insight report on the construction industry, a one-hour webinar, sponsored by Reconomy, brought together industry experts, focusing on how they embedded sustainability cultures within their firms - and how they plan to take forward their agendas.

More than 100 outlets have joined the scheme so far

UK cafés and restaurants pilot lunchbox refill scheme to slash plastics waste

Dozens of independent cafés and fast food restaurants across the UK will allow customers to bring their own reusable lunchboxes as part of a pilot scheme aimed at reducing reliance on single-use plastic food packaging.

The scheme will fund large-scale conservation and restoration activities across Scotland's forests, lakes and coastline

'The £1bn challenge': Natural capital investment project launched in Scotland

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and the Scottish Wildlife Trust have teamed up to launch a new project aiming to attract £1bn of investment in protecting the nation's natural capital.