The Surpluss is a new global platform developed in the UAE that offers a digital ecosystem where businesses can share their surplus resources to enhance sustainability and innovation, and become more competitive. It has successfully completed its beta testing phase with 100 companies across the UAE.
While various circular economy and industrial symbiosis solutions exist, Founder Rana Hajirasouli used nature’s blueprints to design the framework, integrating artificial and collective intelligence into a unique biomimetic platform. Rather than standardising an entire ecosystem, the platform recognises there is no one size fits all approach for companies with varying challenges and needs. It celebrates incompatibility so that every participant can establish their own journey to becoming more climate intelligent.
Because all businesses have a huge role to play in creating a more sustainable future, The Surpluss is designed to democratise access for organisations large and small. Currently, there is a lack of widespread adoption of industrial symbiosis and circular economy solutions due to the high barriers to entry, whether technical, technological, financial, or a lack of physical infrastructure. In contrast, The Surpluss is simple and cost-effective. Companies are onboarded and trained within 15 minutes, quickly gaining insights into the pain points within their supply chain from a new perspective.
There are many resources businesses can share, including surplus materials, production waste, knowledge, and time. To accelerate climate-intelligence, businesses need to work with what they have now to change their trajectory and meet global goals. During the testing phase, 44% of the companies were manufacturers within resource-intensive/heavy industry, 13% service providers, 13% general and scrap trading, 13% textile companies, 11% FMCG, and 8% miscellaneous. Listings included 23% by-product listings, 32% waste listings, 26% surplus listings and 19% knowledge listings. Waste listings covered recyclables from factories, and common packaging waste provided upcycling opportunities. During a two-month period, a total of 11,500 kilograms of waste was diverted from landfill and given a secondary purpose.
The Surpluss Founder Rana Hajirasouli explains, “When developing the platform, we initially focused on resource-intensive manufacturing supply chains. However, during the pilot we recognised we could leverage the learnings across a wide range of industries. We also saw that SMEs have fundamentally different requirements regarding sustainability-related action compared to larger companies.
“We were very impressed by the outcome of waste to value practices, and we also received pleasing interest from the service sector, which we plan to develop by involving expert sustainability consultants to support businesses in our ecosystem. Plus, we will welcome knowledge partnerships from world-leading universities. By providing a robust ecosystem for knowledge sharing, we hope to empower our members to make an increased commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, creating a forum for exchange of best practices and thought leadership through peer learning.”
Nesa R, CEO of Nomad (a female-founded and run fashion start up) shares her experience of the platform, "We wanted to discover more ways to make a difference and find sustainable solutions. But initially we didn’t think it would be possible to use secondary materials, such as surplus textiles, as a raw material to create entire collections. Then we got linked into a synergy with another brand within a few days, which saved them from adding hundreds of unwanted garments into landfill, and allowed us to save 95% on our sourcing costs for a wholesale order. The environmental and financial savings were a huge bonus for our fashion line and we are definitely looking for more synergies in the future."
Naveen L, Sales Manager at Trice Chemicals, another company involved in the pilot added, “we never realised that we could generate revenue from the underutilised resources in our company. The best thing about the platform is that it not only allows you to share your by-products, but also gives you the option of sharing knowledge. We have found a new revenue stream and it has also helped us to reduce waste by diverting it from landfill."
The Surpluss is based on an annual tiered membership model, whereby smaller companies, pay a lower cost, reducing the barriers to entry, particularly for SMEs.