A real circular economy would expand the definition of the circular economy to one where its operating system is regenerative not only towards nature, but also people; meaning wealth is equitably circulated and shared. A new report by Sharon Ede explains how relocalising production with not-for-profit business models helps build resilient and prosperous societies.
In recent years, the idea of a ‘circular economy’ has come to the fore as a way to tackle carbon emissions and waste. It has gained traction with thought leaders and jurisdictions around the world as a way to stimulate economic growth, foster innovation and generate employment.
The circular economy builds on concepts including zero waste, cradle to cradle and biomimicry. It is focused on creating economic value and reducing environmental impact through design, highest and best use of materials, and efficient use of resources and energy.
How we design, make, use and manage things at the end of their useful life has enormous implications for everything from our demand on nature’s resources, our carbon impact, and the amount of waste we generate.
Efforts to crystallise and focus attention on creating a circular economy have created a huge awareness of, interest in and momentum for approaches that make a lot of environmental and economic sense.
At the same time, a technological approach to the circular economy is necessary, but not sufficient, to get us on track for a secure future.
The principles of a circular economy speak to material resources and our systems of managing them, however with a few exceptions, there is little mention in contemporary circular economy debate of the wider milieu of economic, social and cultural systems in which a circular economy must operate.
Adopting a broader definition of ‘circular economy’ can help us build a sustainable, prosperous and fair society.
Read the full report here [pdf].
An indexed version of the report is also available at Commons Transition