What does the Circular Economy mean for my business?
Global demand for extracted resources has more than tripled since 1970, outstripping population growth which doubled over the same period. A recent report shows that annually we now consume more than 100 billion tonnes worth of material, only a third of which remains in use after a year. The remainder is either classed as waste or gets dispersed or emitted into the environment. Just 8.6% of all material was cycled back into the economy.
Aside from the obvious environmental concerns associated with our insatiable demand, from a simple economic point of view our current system is unsustainable; increased demand and finite supply will lead to greater competition, increased price and volatility, and supply risks.
The circular economy is more than just a way to tackle the critical environmental issues we are all facing. It is about shifting from a linear take - make - dispose economy to one that decouples economic growth from the consumption of finite materials. This means:.
Rethinking how we design products and services, maximising lifespan and minimizing waste and pollution.
Prioritising stock optimisation and promoting low-carbon, low-resource solutions.
Dematerialising our patterns of consumption by moving from business models based on ownership of goods, to those centred on use, utility and selling goods as services
To paraphrase Walter Stahel, for businesses, it is about maximising value and competitiveness in a resource constrained economy.
So what are the opportunities for my business?