A combination of growing mining capacity and reduced trade barriers have assisted a significant drop in prices across the global metals market during the past four years, facilitating increased profitability in the European tech sector. However, a new report released by ING Bank, titled “Metals, a dangerous complacency?’, argues that longer-term challenges are masked and that the present is actually the optimal time for Europe’s tech industry to shift to different business models.

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s recent Growth Within report highlighted the potential vulnerability of Europe as an importer and ING’s report works along a similar line presenting the finiteness of specific metals, rapidly rising demand and the volatility of oil prices as elements that could disrupt the current low prices.

As a solution, the ING report argues that the circular economy model presents the greatest opportunities. The report’s author, Jurjen Witteveen, senior economist at ING, said:

“Manufacturers should take advantage of the current low price window and invest in strategies to create a more efficient supply chain. The design phase is critical – a culture shift towards creating products that are easily recycled or remanufactured will take us one step closer to a circular economy.”

As well as highlighting the importance of more effective product design, the ING report also highlights the shift in business models from selling ownership to providing a service.

Source: Current low prices in the global metals market mask long-term challenges facing manufacturers

Lead image licensed under CC – credit Flickr user: Rodger Evans

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