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Towards a Longer Life: Backpack Company FOND OF Develops Circular Solutions for Their Backpacks

How many of your old backpacks have been forgotten in the attic or on the top shelf of your closet? What if they could be given a second life rather than cluttering up your storage space? Together with the Mittelstand 4.0 – Kompetenzzentrum eStandards, the backpack company FOND OF is developing solutions for prolonging your favourite backpack’s life – or reusing its raw material.

“Since its inception in 2010, FOND OF has always been committed to responsible production. A large part of fabrics used for our backpacks and bags are made from recycled PET-bottles”, explains Hannes Weber, who is responsible for corporate responsibility at FOND OF, the backpack company known for brands such as Ergobag, Aevor and pinqponq. “What happens to backpacks that are no longer used? Many backpacks end up in a landfill or incineration facility, others are in good condition but end up forgotten and no longer used. Valuable resources are lost”, his colleague Julian Conrads adds. In a pilot project with the Kompetenzzentrum eStandards—which the CSCP is part of—the young company from Cologne will find solutions for these challenges.

Together with the Kompetenzzentrum-Team, FOND OF develops a circular economy business model that prolongs the life of backpacks and resource use, with the help of digital solutions and open standards. “We aim to further develop our business model through the project to keep materials in the economic cycle and contribute to further value creation. At the same time, we are developing new after-sales services and strengthening customer loyalty”, say sustainability expert Hannes Weber.

The CSCP’s Thomas Wagner, expert at the Kompetenzzentrum’s Co-Working Space in Wuppertal, adds: “Circular economy business models have many advantages. Materials are retained in the economy and contribute to further value-added. In addition, communication across the entire value chain is optimised and innovations are facilitated”. In developing and implementing this circular approach, which impacts business models, logistics, interactions with retailers, as well as customers, FOND OF is supported by the Kompetenzzentrum eStandards.

The Kompetenzzentrum eStandards Co-Working Space is hosted in Wuppertal at the CSCP. Circular economy thinking is key at the CSCP both from a business model and value chain perspective. Recently, the CSCP has started a new project—Sustainable Procurement Hub— to establish circular thinking in procurement practices.

 

Mittelstand 4.0 Kompetenzzentrum eStandards

The Mittelstand 4.0 Kompetenzzentrum eStandards is an initiative of Mittelstand-Digital. Mittelstand-Digital informs small and medium-sized enterprises about the opportunities and challenges of digitalisation. Regional Kompetenzzentren help local small retailers as well as larger production companies with expert knowledge, demonstration centres, and networks to facilitate the exchange of experiences and practical examples. The Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy enables the free use of all Mittelstand-Digital offerings. Further information can be found at www.mittelstand-digital.de.

For further information, please contact Thomas Wagner.