Make Sustainability Profitable

When done right, sustainability is a great driver for profit creation.

On average, a manufacturing company in Denmark spends a bit more than half of all costs on raw materials and components. By comparison, less than a quarter is tied in salaries.

I have not checked the statistics for other European countries, but given the fact that we have relatively high wages here in Denmark, I’m guessing the picture is at least the same in other countries.

Similarly, a significant proportion of the materials you actually procure do not end up in a finished product that you sell to your customers. Hidden as waste, byproducts, excess heat, cooling water, et cetera. And this is no small amounts we’re talking about.

It is not unusual for a manufacturing company that more than 20% of the input actually do not end out as a finished product.

And in many places the number is higher – a lot higher. Have you ever done the math for your company? Simply gathered the data for the input, the amount of kilo that goes into your manufacturing process and comparing it against the amount the kilo, that comes out in finished products that you sell for your customers.

I bet you’ll be surprised, borderline not believing what you find.

So what to do with this number?

I will clearly recommend that you go to the circular economy as your toolbox. Because circular economy is a discipline within the sustainability domain that is rooted in business thinking, and that has a focus on maximising the value and the flow of resources. And this makes it a great tool when you want minimise the amount of money that you throw out of the window every single day.

Think for a moment about what would happen if you at executive level really threw yourself into the fight for maximising the value of the raw materials that you buy, including what you throw away today?

In my experince – the outcome would be solidt business value. Because as you know, where focus goes, energy flows.

And remember that minimising resource use, minimising waste, that goes straight to the bottomline. And maximising the value of the leftover resources you actually have, that has very often proven to be highly lucrative as well.

If you want to make your business more profitable, you should utilise the circular economy as a tool. And if you want to find out how well positioned you are to actually turn circular economy into a profit driver, then I’ve created a simple self-assessment tool you can take.

It’s free and it only takes you around five minutes, and it will give you customised recommendations for what could be your next steps.

You can find it by going to