The circular economy: pure necessity

Climate change also provides opportunities
PostedFebruary 03, 2016, in  Step 8: sustainable society
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Between 20 and 23 January, 2016 the world’s political leaders and ‘captains of industry’ gathered in the Swiss town of Davos. During The World Economic Forum (WEF) they discussed the ‘state of the world’. Prior to the forum, a global risk analysis was carried out. One of the biggest threats: climate change. 

Threat to the world economy

The Paris Agreement shows that the necessity for a solid climate policy has widespread support. The CO2 emissions must be decreased in order to prevent global warming, which has disastrous consequences. One of the objectives of ‘Davos’ is to follow-up on the climate agreement. That is a real necessity, because according to the Global Risks Report 2016 climate change forms a serious threat to the world economy.

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From: 'Closing the Loop', the EU programme for a circulair economy

Circular economy

The current consumer society is aimed at use. Many products, particularly Electronics, have a short lead time and are then discarded. Recycling and ‘re-use’ are on the rise but are still not commonplace. That’s a shame, because therein lies the key. By choosing a circular economy the CO2 emissions can be reduced by no less than 70% by 2030! 

Economically relevant

In a circular economy maximum re-use of products and commodities is key. Residual materials are bio-degradable or technically suitable for re-use. The value destruction is minimal and that makes circular enterprise economically relevant. That is, in fact, an understatement, because according to research firm McKinsey, by 2030, the circular economy has the ability to generate an amazing € 1.8 trillion in value! 

Reality check

The circular economy has the potential to create tens of thousands of jobs and to help a relatively new industry blossom. There are numerous opportunities for existing enterprises  to optimize business processes, penetrate new markets and thus safeguard their own future. So much for Utopia.  Of course there are marvellous examples of sustainable companies, but the reality is still that most companies only change if circumstances demand. For example, because of new legislation, but then it is usually not a voluntary change. Real change comes from within, from need, ambition or… a direct financial stimulus. For the latter, ‘pre-cycling premiums’ offer significant possibilities. We will go into those in more detail next week. 

Want to know more?

Every month, a new sustainability topic is discussed on the www.improve4all.nl/blog. Each topic is discussed in detail in three blog articles. At the end of the month the articles are bundled in a newsletter. In February 2016 the central topic is the circular economy.  

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PostedFebruary 03, 2016, in Step 8: sustainable society
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