Pilot project implemented in the US by 23 leading companies reveals promising opportunities to eliminate industrial waste

New report details early results and outlines a path forward for a national-scale Materials Marketplace

Today, the U.S. Business Council for Sustainable Development (US BCSD), Corporate Eco Forum (CEF) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) announced the results of a groundbreaking company-led “waste-matching” initiative. The project sought to assess the feasibility of a national “Materials Marketplace” to match traditional and non-traditional industrial waste streams with new product and revenue opportunities. 23 major companies participated in the first phase of the pilot, representing 78 industrial facilities across the United States.

The results reveal significant opportunities to eliminate corporate waste and by-product streams. From June through August 2015, participants uploaded 2.4 million tons of underutilized materials to the marketplace, and sought 59 materials via a unique “wishlist” function. The Marketplace team, leveraging more than two decades of experience, recommended 68 matches and initiated 19 transactions.

A comprehensive report presenting the outcomes, challenges, lessons learned and path forward for the U.S. Materials Marketplace pilot is available at http://materialsmarketplace.org.

Andrew Mangan, founder and Executive Director of the US BCSD, likens the process to pulling open curtains that have long been closed. He summarizes the vision of the project, “The increasing pressure on our natural resources sends a clear message: we need to find value in discarded materials. Growing cross-industry collaboration for the efficient use of our resources opens up new business opportunities while creating economic, environmental, and societal benefits.”

Added Amy O’Meara, Director of the Corporate Eco Forum, “The pilot clearly demonstrated that an expanded U.S. Materials Marketplace with hundreds of companies reusing their material flows could significantly reduce the waste currently going to landfills. With increasing numbers of companies aspiring to more circular business models, the Marketplace also plays an increasingly important convening role for likeminded business leaders.”

Peter Bakker, President and CEO of the WBCSD, said “The Materials Marketplace project pilot has revealed major economic opportunities for companies to close material and waste loops. In collaboration with our 70 Global Network Partners across the world, we will identify ways to bring these projects to scale and accelerate the transition to a circular economy.”

The project received a major boost from the early and enthusiastic enlistment of General Motors and Nike. In recent years, General Motors has generated nearly $1 billion in annual revenue through reuse and recycling of its by-products, which enabled the corporation to avoid releasing 10 million metric tons of CO2-equivalent emissions in the atmosphere.

In January 2016, the pilot will be extended for another three months to finish transactions in progress and recruit additional companies. By participating in the Materials Marketplace, companies can lower operational costs and waste disposal expenses while reducing energy consumption and GHG emissions. Additionally, they will spend less for raw materials, create new business opportunities and jobs to implement them, and join a respected collaborative network of diverse like-minded companies that are eager to explore new pathways to more efficient production and environmental protection.

Companies participating in the 2015 U.S. Materials Marketplace pilot project include: Armstrong World Industries, BASF, CH2M, Dow Chemical, Essroc, Fairmount Santrol, General Motors, Goodyear, Greif, LafargeHolcim, Nike, Novelis, Procter & Gamble, Swisstrax, Tetra Pak, Veolia, Waste Management, and others. In 2014, these companies accounted for over $600 billion U.S. in revenue, operated over 600 facilities in the U.S., and employed over 1.7 million people worldwide.

ABOUT THE US BCSD: The US BCSD is an action-oriented and member¬-led business association that harnesses the power of collaborative projects, platforms and partnerships to develop, deploy and scale solutions to ecosystems, energy, materials and water challenges. US BCSD activities are designed to generate economic returns and address environmental and societal challenges. The US BCSD is one of 65 national councils affiliated with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

ABOUT THE WBCSD: The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), a CEO-led organization of some 200 forward-thinking global companies, is committed to galvanizing the global business community to create a sustainable future for business, society and the environment. Together with its members, the council applies its respected thought leadership and effective advocacy to generate constructive solutions and take shared action. Leveraging its strong relationships with stakeholders as the leading advocate for business, the council helps drive debate and policy change in favor of sustainable development solutions.

The WBCSD provides a forum for its member companies - who represent all business sectors, all continents and a combined revenue of more than $8.5 trillion, 19 million employees - to share best practices on sustainable development issues and to develop innovative tools that change the status quo. The council also benefits from a network of 70 national and regional business councils and partner organizations, a majority of which are based in developing countries.

ABOUT THE CORPORATE ECO FORUM: The Corporate Eco Forum (CEF) is an invitation-only membership organization comprised of Fortune and Global 500 companies from 18 industries with combined revenues of over $3 trillion. CEF’s mission is to help accelerate sustainable business innovation by creating a neutral “safe space” for influential business leaders to strategize and exchange best-practice insights. Participants are exclusively top-level executives, including chief sustainability officers, chief financial officers, and chief technology officers, and other VP-level executives with responsibilities affecting the supply chain.

BlogDaniel Kietzer