1) Sustainability problem: Waste
The waste humans generate is detrimental to our environment. Our current take-make-waste extractive industrial model generates too much trash that we are currently unable to deal with in a sustainable way. Waste that is not biodegradable and cannot be properly recycled is filling our oceans and landfills. Our current pace of linear materials consumption shows patterns where humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services in a given year regularly exceeds what the planet can regenerate in that year. According to National Geographic, ‘Of the 102.3 billion tons of material resources entering the global economy every year, 9.3 billion tons is reused.’ The sharing of unused resources and materials between and within businesses and organizations, therefore, presents both business and environmental opportunities.
2) Technology Summary
- Designed around principles of the circular economy; a system that works to maximize the use of resources and eliminate waste, Rheaply combines resource exchange, asset management, disposition and sustainability metrics to power circular organizations and systems through a SaaS platform.
- Launched in 2016, Rheaply’s flagship technology: Asset Exchange Manager™ (AxM) provides a way for professionals to share materials and resources with anyone in their industry. As the only market solution that combines an asset management system with an online marketplace, the technology enables organizations to manage and transact physical assets more effectively, eliminating unnecessary waste and spend. This aims to help businesses save time and increase collaboration by bringing surplus, equipment, physical assets and more resources together in one customized and easy-to-use application.
- Clients can use the online marketplace to rent, sell and donate items that are no longer of use to them, like office furniture or equipment, and users can scan through what is available and purchase what they need. It also employs gamification to encourage reuse among employees.
- The idea is to save these businesses money while also promoting sustainability; aiming to reduce emissions and landfill waste and facilitate access to affordable and sustainable materials for entire organizations and (in the future) surrounding communities. The company claims to have saved its users $1.3 million with more than 10,000 transactions, diverting a total of 14.5 metric tons of waste (rheaply.com, 2021).
- The Asset Management and Exchange platform offers its service in a B2B subscription model to organizations and businesses across industries such as higher education, enterprise, biopharmaceuticals, and government scale.
3) Organizational stakeholders
- Building management
- Technology managers
- Sustainability managers
- Finance professionals for funding and asset management oversight
- Organization leadership for oversight and facilitation of collaboration between depts
- Members of the business / organization using the resources
- Local communities
4) 3 steps in deploying this technology
- Stakeholder engagement: Educate and understand viewpoints and use cases for all relevant stakeholders on adoption/impacts/risks/policy regarding implementation. Gather relevant stakeholders into formalized roles so they can coherently respond to issues and help direct decision-making. For the software to work effectively within organizations, it is important to understand how different departments collaborate between sustainability metrics/financial asset management/building management (for the shared physical assets). Data transparency is essential to communicate to relevant stakeholders.
- Development and scale: Craft detailed use cases for the marketing of the SaaS platform to help scale the technology. This would help drive marketing strategy and present more accurate cost and ROI projections to secure funding for the next stage of development and expansion of the startup.
- Monitor and evaluate the performance. Consider issues around process transformation and ongoing lifecycle by setting a schedule and pattern to monitor progress. Rigorous performance tracking environmental impacts of reduced waste is necessary, alongside tracking of profits and cost-savings.