5 Mins Q&A… with Caroline Guest, Manager of Circular Value Chains

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Image: © HSSMI


Caroline Guest has been with us for three years now since joining us from Ford Motor Company. She has taken on the role of leading and further developing the Circular Value Chains team in London.


1. Why did you leave Ford for HSSMI?

Whilst at Ford I started a self-funded part-time MSc in Sustainable Manufacturing as this was an area I wanted to get involved in, looking at the environmental aspects of manufacturing. HSSMI has “Sustainable Manufacturing” in its name so seemed the perfect fit! Since joining a whole new world has opened up to me, and I’ve been able to both grow my knowledge and work with a range of OEMs, mainly supporting the electrification of their powertrains.


2. Can you describe what the Circular Value Chains team does?

Our team’s vision is to get manufacturers to embrace and capitalise on the opportunities to be more circular and resourceful. This could be developing new strategies for handling production waste to implement closed or open loops for the materials, to looking at design for end of life, designing in products with reuse and recovery in mind.

We also look at the business model and how that can be changed to improve resource productivity and how capable an organisation is currently in this area. We also work in the development of new technologies to create opportunities for improved product and material recovery and the key area of tracking materials and products throughout the supply chain. Our team has experience in all these areas, across a wide range of industries.


3. What are the main challenges and opportunities for the team?

The biggest challenge is to drive circular economy principles to be embedded as part of normal business for manufacturers. This can only be done if there are financial benefits, as any action needs to be sustainable. The opportunity is there to work with manufacturers and demonstrate the benefits they can gain whilst also benefitting society and the environment, and then to implement them. Globally, more attention is being paid on how we use our resources which opens up opportunities for new business models and technologies to better retain the value embedded in products and resources. The development of technologies such as blockchain offer the chance to create traceability through the supply chain.


4What type of person will thrive in your team?

We need people who will challenge the status quo, and seek new ways of doing things. We need people with a background of applying circular solutions in manufacturing, whether it is in developing new processes for recovering materials or in identifying opportunities for manufacturers to reduce waste in their processes and improve products for end of life.


5. As part of the leadership team at HSSMI, what are your passions?

Having spent the first part of my career ensuring vehicles are designed for manufacture without considering the end of life, I am now passionate about this being an integral part of design considerations. I have a strong desire to see a move away from the current throwaway society, how we manufacture and design our products plays a strong part in this, as well as behaviour change.


If you come from a manufacturing background and would like to join our growing team at HSSMI, please get in touch with us to discuss further or look through the positions currently available on the careers page on our website.


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