What is the circular economy?
The current ‘take, make and dispose’ extractive industrial model is inherently wasteful and relies on the consumption of finite resources. The circular economy offers a positive way forward, by redefining growth to focus on positive society-wide benefits. It entails optimising material flows, production and systems to design waste out. Underpinned by a transition to renewable energy sources, the circular model builds economic, natural and social capital. Such an economy is built on three principles: rebuild natural capital; keep products and materials in high value use; and design out pollution and waste.
The circular economy is gaining growing attention thanks to the opportunities it offers businesses willing to capture new value from existing operations and resources, for example by redesigning products and business models, building new relationships with customers, harnessing technology to increase the utilisation of assets, and switching to renewable energy.