Are German Companies Leading the Change Towards a Sustainable Future?

At INDEED Innovation, our commitment to sustainability drives us to continually explore and promote practices that can better our world. We believe that the future of business lies in the adoption of the Circular Economy — a model that not only mitigates environmental impact but also fosters innovation, efficiency, and resilience. Our latest white paper, “Circularity Index by INDEED Innovation,” comprehensively analyzes how leading German companies, particularly those within the DAX 40, are navigating this transformative journey.

Published by Handelsblatt

The Circular Economy: Redefining Business Models for a Sustainable Future

The European Parliament has positioned the Circular Economy as a crucial element of the European Green Deal. This model aims to protect the environment, reduce dependence on raw materials, and create numerous jobs. Unlike the traditional linear model, where products end up as waste, the Circular Economy promotes the reuse, repair, refurbishment, and recycling of materials, extending their lifecycle and reducing environmental impact. By shifting to this regenerative approach, companies can transform waste into valuable resources, paving the way for a sustainable and resilient economic future.

Current Landscape of DAX 40 Companies

A significant portion of German companies are still rooted mainly in traditional practices. Our analysis of their published circular economy goals reveals that a staggering 79% of DAX 40 firms seem to continue to follow the linear model, based on their published goals.

We have identified four typologies.

  • Circular Transformers: These companies are leading the way by simultaneously achieving ambitious climate goals and driving the circular economy.
  • Circular Followers: These companies are on the right track, actively pursuing circularity but still developing their climate strategies.
  • Linear Traditionalists: These companies are successful with the traditional model, but haven’t yet embraced circularity and are still developing their climate strategies.
  • Linear Optimizers: These companies excel at optimizing their current model for climate goals, but haven’t transitioned to circularity yet.

For the companies following the linear approach, each year of waiting, will make it more time and cost consuming to adapt to the Net Zero EU Goal.

Pioneers on the other hand not only focus on energy and resource efficiency, but also extend their responsibility for their products beyond sales: with leasing, take-back and repair concepts, they can extend the life cycle of products, reduce waste volumes and sell products multiple times.

We, as businesses, organizations, and individuals, have a responsibility to make this transformative outlook a reality.

This report has provided you with a snapshot of German companies’ ambitions and efforts toward the Circular Economy displayed in their corporate sustainability goals and net-zero targets.

Now it’s time for action. Sustainability is a business imperative, and Circularity is the lever that propels us forward. The transition hinges on a powerful synergy: effective regulations, evolving consumer preferences, and groundbreaking technology.

Eunji Park, Executive Director

Why It Matters: The Corporate Circularity Imperative

Embracing circularity is no longer optional; it is a business necessity. As regulatory pressures mount and customer expectations evolve, businesses that fail to transition from a linear to a circular model risk not only reputational damage but also fiscal and operational consequences. Adopting circular strategies ensures the resilience, scalability, and credibility of your business, ultimately safeguarding its future in an economy that increasingly values sustainability. By embedding circular principles into your operations, you can reduce waste, optimize resource use, and contribute to a more sustainable and profitable business model.

Why You Should Read This White Paper

Circularity Index 2024

By downloading our white paper, you’ll gain:

  • In-depth Analysis: Detailed insights into the sustainability strategies of Germany’s largest companies.
  • Benchmarking Data: Understand where these companies stand in their journey towards a Circular Economy.
  • Inspiration and Best Practices: Learn from the frontrunners and discover strategies that could be applied to other organizations.

Eager to learn more about how leading German companies are transforming their operations for a sustainable future?

Download our comprehensive white paper now and get the full scoop on the Circularity Index, key findings, and actionable strategies for your business.

Who we are

We are the global design & innovation firm for a Circular Economy.

We partner with forward-acting organizations to design and deliver products, experiences and systems that eliminate waste, regenerate natural resources, keep materials and products in loops, and help humans to adopt circular business models.

What’s your challenge? Let’s tackle it.
Get to know the Circularity Kick-start Workshop! This workshop is designed to jump-start your team’s understanding of circular business models. It’s a collaborative environment where your cross-functional team can brainstorm and agree on the best approach for your organization to implement circularity.

Michael Leitl

Michael Leitl

Innovation & AI Strategy

After studying chemistry, being a long-time editor at “Harvard Business Manager”, a member of the innovation team at “Der Spiegel” and more: Michael brings a wealth of knowledge to the team and our partners.

We are glad you’re here. Now let’s take things to the next level