How Robert Bosch is implementing Circularity

Circularity is not only about waste management; it is designed to be an Economic model that generates value. At BLUMORPHO we put a particular accent on bankable challenges and on delivering technical and business solutions, and sustainable business models are part of it. We do believe that Circular Economy is a pathway to disruption by implementing sustainable new business models and leveraging on new technologies. In the frame of the C-VoUCHER project, BLUMORPHO has interviewed Dr Peter Lukassen, Circular Economy Manager at Robert Bosch GmbH, about Bosch’s activities related to Circular Economy, the role of enabling technologies, and the importance of ecosystems.

peter lukassenDr. Peter Lukassen joined Bosch in 2008. After positions in Controlling, Manufacturing, and Logistics, he becomes Circular Economy Manager for the Automotive Aftermarket Division of Bosch in 2019. In his role, Peter accounts for the cross-business field Circular Economy aftermarket strategy and represents Bosch in several industry working groups.

« Circularity is and will be one major key element in achieving the European Climate targets for 2050 », states Dr Peter Lukassen. These targets are highly implicated in new sustainable business models; it allows Bosch to save on the use and increase the lifespan of resources as well as to improve profitability for customers and for the company itself. Bosch has been active on the circularity field for more than 50 years now and the sustainable business models have been proved to be a successful approach.

Life cycle approach and design thinking

« The resulting resource scarcity that has emerged urges us to rethink todays recycling concepts and material streams ». For Bosch, design is one thing to take into consideration to achieve a circular product lifecycle and to go even further in the deployment of a holistic model. « Mapping complete product life cycles and simulating adjustments in manufacturing environments, especially on fine scales, will aid the transformation to a circular economy. »

A common vision for a common strategy

Most companies’ current business models are based on their core business, with different business units offering a wide variety of products and applying circular economy principles at different levels.  It is crucial for companies to understand the needs for a common vision and for a common strategy that is aligned with the different activities at the group level involving all business units. Bosch has put in place a process to drive the different business units together keeping in mind the overall initiative, the governmental targets as well as the intentionality of shifting towards sustainability and process improvements.

Technology as an enabler of circularity

On the one hand, technology is a main driver, especially for quite complex processes. On the other hand, awareness is key as the decision makers are the final customers. According to Dr Peter Lukassen, the Bosch Group is positive that in the next few years we will see an evolution and that the shift towards circularity and sustainability will finally take off. We cannot simply rely on governmental pressures and regulations to comply bit by bit to reach the different targets. Companies have to be proactive in implementing new systems.

Circular Economy, the importance of collaborations, ecosystems and communities

Bosch is quite involved in European initiatives addressing Sustainability and Circular Economy part of Horizon 2020. They work alongside scientific institutions, universities as well as startups and SMEs aiming at developing a shared vision on economic and ecological processes management. The project focus at the moment is the development of a business model separating the physical flow from the data flow in line with automation principles and industry 4.0. This allows to increase the processes efficiency and to build on circularity models.

Find more about the research project “resources-efficient circular product-service-system” (RECIPSS) 

« Disruptive material design and sustainable manufacturing will fundamentally change our future methods of designing components, manufacturing processes, and systems. Digital twins of our holistic product life cycle will enable the agile development of ‘first to market’ innovative products with an improved ecological footprint. »

Disruptive materials and manufacturing for sustainability