Bäch SZ –
Conventional management systems were developed for companies with linear structures. This means they are to some extent at odds with the principles of a circular economy. EPEA Switzerland and Werner & Mertz are working to reconcile the two approaches.
Management systems are intended to give companies structure and consequently make business processes optimally efficient. The same is true of environmental management systems certified to ISO 14001, for example. These already focus on environmental aspects in the life cycle perspective and the identification of potential opportunities and risks.
However, they still relate to companies with a linear structure and therefore do not incorporate the principles of a circular economy, such as Cradle to Cradle. This is now set to change through the work of the German family-run company Werner & Mertz, famous for its “Frosch” (frog) brand of professional and household cleaning supplies, and EPEA Switzerland, the accredited assessment body for the Cradle to Cradle Certified certification standard and Material Health Certification. They intend to develop management systems for companies structured for the circular economy.
A key step has been taken by Werner & Mertz with the launch of the “green care PROFESSIONAL” brand for the professional institutional and industrial sector. This brings together the principles of a management system that correctly implements processes with the principles of implementing the right processes under Cradle to Cradle in one principle that ensures the right processes are implemented correctly. Werner & Mertz has already been working towards this aim with its Frosch and green care PROFESSIONAL product ranges.
A further success on the road to combining linear management systems with the circular economy was achieved by EPEA Switzerland at the end of 2019. It entered into a cooperation agreement with the certification body Quality Austria to further align environmental management and circular economy systems. Now, EPEA Switzerland and Quality Austria plan to also exploit the potential offered by the European Union’s European Green Deal. This set of policy initiatives by the European Commission is a roadmap for making the EU’s economy sustainable.
Werner & Mertz are already operating with this in mind. “Only by shifting sustainability center stage in all its processes can a company effectively make and sell an eco-friendly product“, says Reinhard Schneider, CEO of Werner & Mertz.