This week the FT is holding a series of conferences for Clean Energy Week. The final day is devoted to the circular economy and how this framework can have commercial value for business. We will hear about how it's impacting product development, resource recovery, remanufacturing, refurbishment and systems leakage. An area we are increasingly advising on is how circular economy thinking is driving the more effective use of industrial assets, either through enhanced maintenance or switching to a 'product-as-a-service' model.

M&A activity is increasing in these areas. GE Digital, an early adopter, acquired ServiceMax a cloud-based field service management specialist for $916m in December 2016 to advance its Industrial Internet vision to enable customers to gain more value from their assets.