The circular economy’s bottom line

Iain Robertson  5th June 2017

As the great and the good of the circular economy world arrive in Helsinki this morning for a major summit – what are the economic implications of a shift to this sustainable model?

The World Circular Economy Forum will invite stakeholders to bring forward the strategies that can transform the global economy from a linear one to a circular one. It will also look at the central role this system can play in supporting the UN’s sustainable development goals (SDGs).

Saving our planet should be enough of a carrot for anyone to go circular. The plastics poisoning our seas – and the waste destroying our land and atmosphere – are killing it. People are the cause of this destruction and therefore must be the solution.

What we saw last week with Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris agreement, though, was an American president hung up on what he perceives as the possible short term financial and political gains of turning away from Paris, rather than in protecting the planet for future generations.

The decision failed to recognise that the global movement towards a sustainable future is not just a must from the stand point of the self preservation of humanity (Spoiler Alert: it is the only way for the game not to end forever) but it comes with huge economic benefits.

report from the Business and Sustainable Development Commission reveals that achieving the established SDGs, for example, could create nearly 400 million jobs and generate $12 trillion in new business.

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation says India alone could save $624 billion a year by 2050, if it moves to a circular model.

Globally one estimate, from Accenture, puts the potential value of the circular economy itself at $4.5 trillion. A guide being published at the World Circular Economy Forum, complied by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) in collaboration with Accenture, tells CEOs how they can “seize the USD$ 4.5 trillion opportunity the circular economy represents”







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