The circular economy is a $4.5 trillion opportunity. It presents huge potential for global economic growth and will also accelerate society towards a sustainable future
Circular economy isn’t widely understood by business. Mobilizing this opportunity will remain a challenge until business leaders adopt a “circular mindset.”
This is the biggest opportunity to transform production and consumption since the First Industrial Revolution. Unleashing circular innovation, we can boost the global economy’s resilience, support people and communities around the world and help fulfill the Paris Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals
The seven keys of Circular Economy
Key #1 - Prioritize regenerative resources
Ensure renewable, reusable, non-toxic resources are used as materials and energy in an efficient way. The planet is the global ecosystem, source of the resources necessary for society and at the same time dumping of all the waste caused by economic activity. As the planet is finite, the global ecosystem obviously has limits. (Bifani, 1997)
Key #2 - Preserve and extend what´s already made
While resources are in-use, maintain, repair and upgrade them to maximise their lifetime and give them a second life through take back strategies when applicable. Preserving complexity: ecological diversity is a core source of resilience for the planet. Material and energetic losses are tolerated for the sake of preservation of biodiversity; it is a much higher priority.
Key #3 - Use waste as a resource
Use waste streams as a source of secondary resources and recover waste for reuse and recycling by cascading materials in their most complex form for as long as possible. Material cycles are designed to be of lengths that are relevant on a human timescale. Materials are not mixed in ways that cannot longer be separated and purely recovered, unless they can continue to cycle infinitely at high value in their mixed form.
Key #4 - Rethink the Business Model
Consider opportunities to create value and align incentives through business models that build on the interaction between products and services. Circular economy has attracted attention from a broad audience ranging from policy makers, scientist, NGO’s and companies. It’s impact on finance however, has attracted less attention.
Key #5 - Incorporate Digital Technology
Track and optimise resource use and strengthen connections between supply chain actors through digital, online platforms and technologies that provide insights. The economic system is inherently adaptable and resilient, it has governance systems, incentives and mechanisms that allow it to respond to systemic shocks and crises.
Key #6 - Design for the future
Account for the systems perspective during the design process, to use the right materials, to design for appropriate lifetime and to design for extended future use. Product design is the engine with which we can accelerate the transition towards a circular economy. Creating innovative products and exploring new ways to deliver services is a means for which circular design can come to life.
Key #7 - Collaborate to create joint value
Work together throughout the supply chain, internally within organisations and with the public sector to increase transparency and create joint value. Join forces across value chains in forums, engage with other companies and stakeholders to remove barriers and work on solutions that will create growth while reducing impact. Achieving a circular transformation requires teamwork across functional areas