Keynote speaker no. 3 was Mr. Hendrik Roosna, the CEO of Fairown Finance. He is a seasoned fintech expert and a sustainability enthusiast. With more than 18 years of experience in building asset-backed financing businesses, the speaker is a Y Combinator S16 alumnus who is passionate about using fintech solutions to enable circular economy. During this conference, Mr. Roosna’spresentation pondered the topic of making circular economy work.
Mr. Roosna began with clarifying the concept of circular economy. He said it is a consumption model where no waste is generated, or at least the concept is moving towards zero-waste generation. This is exactly what Fairown is already doing in several markets. After clarifying this, the speaker took a step back and spoke about resource consumption.
He noted that production is the most energy-consuming phase in a product's life cycle. To try and put this into perspective he asked how large do we think the resource consumption for one smartphone is. It takes 80 000 litres of water to produce one smartphone. This is a very large consumption. However, consumer behaviour is shifting.
Both the world and consumers are heading towards circular economy. People are looking to buy products in a different way, the focus is now placed on usership rather than ownership. We are not only looking at the time we have with our products, but thinking about how it was made and what happens after we stop using it. Here we should recycle what we do not use anymore in order to give the devices several life cycles.
He continued by stating that some brands are already redesigning their production methods. It is important because most of the devices are produced from virgin materials. The new way of production, however, is taking back the same products which come from consumers. These products get additional warranties, etc and are returned to the market for another group of consumers who might be more price sensitive or just interested in using second-hand products. Only after that will the devices come back to finally be recycled and made into something else.
To continue, the speaker introduced the operations of Fairown. He said that Fairown supplies brands with tools to design the circular economy. It is not only driven by the modality but by the business as well. What happens is that products are made, used, re-used and then recycled. This can happen when products are used for the right amount of time and returned to the producer in a good working condition. Yet what does this process bring for the brands?
This approach brings about dramatic economical and ecological impact, changing the way we are used to using our electronics. It will extend the life cycle of the devices. When we think a little, it is quite evident that many others can use the products after one person has stopped using them. Also, materials can be mined from used products. To add, the producers know their own products’ weaknesses and strongpoints the best, which makes them the best option for refurbishing and reselling them.
Fairown is the platform that ties the parts for innovation together. The speaker said that they bring on the table a platform, residual value management, and advice for a reasonable lifecycle (if needed). The company has also managed to tie banks into this circle, thus in some countries it is the banks that complete end consumer credit check and financing.
He concludes by highlighting the necessity of giving products several life cycles. To reinforce the idea, he mentions that by bringing back used products in a predictable state and from predictable areas their original companies can sustainably close the loop by reusing or disassembling the products