Product Responsibility as Value and Revenue Generator: The Case of Rockwool

The construction industry accounts for 40% of global energy use, 30% of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions, approximately 12% of water use, and nearly 40% of waste*. Green buildings can not only curb the footprint, but also be a catalyst to address major policy frameworks such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), by ensuring health and wellbeing for all ages, making sustainable and affordable energy accessible to everyone, and supporting communities to live safe and resilient lives. We would like to share our experience with Rockwool – a best practice example of sustainable action in the construction sector.

As part of the European Union Horizon 2020 R2Pi project, the CSCP took a closer look at Rockwool’s ‘RockCycle’ circular business model. Rockwool, an international company headquartered in Denmark, produces mineral wool that contributes to energy-efficient building insulation which helps reduce energy demand and cut CO² emissions.

As part of the construction industry, Rockwool too, is greatly burdened by end-of-life materials due to demolition or renovation. A big share of the end-of-life materials are critically contaminated and need special care in waste management.

By using a Circular Business Model, Rockwool introduced the ‘RockCycle’ take-back program for mineral wool. It consists of co-product recovery, re-make, and resource recovery – all of which are integrated along the entire value chain. The company makes sure that any cut-off and excess material in the internal production of mineral wool feeds back into its production cycle.

The ‘RockCycle’ business model is not only a convenient and eco-friendly solution, but also an economically-advantageous solution for customers. As the Rockwool case study highlights, taking responsibility for products and materials is not merely a burden on the company side; on the contrary it can represent a profit-raising opportunity and lead to sustainable future growth.

Circular Business Innovation has the power to create a competitive advantage that is sustainable and customer-centric. In collaboration with the consortium partners of R2Pi, the CSCP further developed a set of tools and methods for the assessment of your level of circularity. Drawing on a vast circular economy expertise, the CSCP supports companies to embark on business innovation journeys that set free the circular potential for sustainable growth. If you are trying to figure out how to expand your business and become more competitive in a sustainable way, reach out to us. We are looking forward to collaborating with you!

For further details, please contact Patrick Bottermann.

* UN Environment Programme (UNEP)