As global leaders gather in New York for Climate Week NYC in September 2019, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation has issued a new paper, in cooperation with Material Economics, revealing the need for a fundamental shift in the global approach to tackling climate change. As set out in Completing the Picture: How the Circular Economy tackles Climate Change, moving to renewables can only address 55% of global greenhouse gas emissions. To achieve UN climate goals, the paper highlights the urgent need to tackle the remaining 45%.
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Renewable energy is not enough. There needs to be a fundamental shift in the global approach to tackling climate change and the circular economy can play an essential role.
Completing the Picture: How the Circular Economy Tackles Climate Change, a paper published by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, tells us:
- Greenhouse gas emissions are not dropping quickly enough to achieve climate targets and switching to renewable energy can only cut them by 55%
- The remaining 45% of emissions come from how we make and use products, and how we produce food
Whilst the circular economy is underpinned by renewable energy, the paper concentrates on five key areas (cement, plastics, steel, aluminium, and food) to illustrate how designing out waste, keeping materials in use, and regenerating farmland can reduce these emissions.
The Elephant in the Boardroom: Why Unchecked Consumption is Not an Option in Tomorrow’s Markets is a working paper from the World Resources Institute that can guide discussion within companies about an uncomfortable truth: many of today’s business models are not fit for tomorrow’s resource-strained world.
Normalizing the conversation will set the groundwork for the pursuit of new business models that allow growth within the planet’s limits and generate stakeholder value in new and exciting ways.
The New Plastics Economy Global Commitment unites businesses, governments, and other organisations behind a common vision and targets to address plastic waste and pollution at its source. It is led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in collaboration with the UN Environment Program. Launched in October 2018, the Global Commitment already unites more than 400 organisations in its common vision of a circular economy for plastics, keeping plastics in the economy and out of the ocean. Signatories include:
- close to 200 businesses that are part of the plastic packaging value chain, jointly representing over 20 % of all plastic packaging used globally, including many of the world’s leading consumer packaged goods companies, retailers, and plastic packaging producers
- 16 governments across five continents and across national, regional, and city level
- 26 financial institutions with a combined USD 4.2 trillion worth of assets under management and 6 investors in total committing to invest about USD 275 million
- leading institutions such as WWF, the World Economic Forum, the Consumer Goods Forum, and IUCN
- more than 50 academics, universities, and other educational or research organisations including MIT Environmental Solutions Initiative, Michigan State University, and University College London.
All 400+ organisations have endorsed one common vision of a circular economy for plastics, in which plastics never become waste. As this June 2019 report shows, the number of business signatories has grown from over 100 to nearly 200 in the seven months since the launch.
The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) has released a report on tackling plastic waste using circular solutions, with a focus on the opportunities chemical recycling provides. After highlighting the scale of the issue, the report presents different ways of solving the plastic waste issue by comparing the impacts of different waste treatment options and technologies, such as pyrolysis. The report concludes that:
“To tackle the colossal societal and environmental issue of plastic waste, we need proportionally meaningful efforts from the private and public sectors as well as society at large that encompass behaviors and habits. The ultimate solutions will involve a combination of judicious consumption and disposal measures as well as the development of cost-competitive and environmentally friendly alternatives. Most observers would agree, however, that these changes are years away. In the meantime—over the next decade or two—we can implement circular solutions to reuse or repurpose plastic waste in the most efficient way.” (Boston Consulting Group, 2018, p. 24).
ECESP Coordination Group members contributed to this report, including Circular Change and Circle Economy.
Globe Hope, a Finnish textiles and cosmetics SME, has been creating bags and accessories from recycled and leftover materials since 2003.
The Circular Classroom is a new educational platform for learning about the circular economy. This open platform provides secondary schools and upper secondary schools with new tools for discussing the circular economy within a curriculum that promotes phenomenon-based learning and integrated subjects.
Join a 1one-hour webinar for a deeper understanding of the circular economy business model patterns identified by the R2π Consortium, to highlight key enablers and tools for implementation at the company level
ChangeNOW - the world's largest gathering of solutions for the planet - will return to Paris for its 3rd edition from 30 January to 1 February 2020, with more than 1,000 solutions and several inspiring circular economy keynotes.
Suckõrs uses naturally growing reed to produce reusable, biodegradable drinking straws and a novel material for goods
Suckõrs is an Estonian company that uses reed growing naturally on the shores of Estonia to make reusable, biodegradable drinking straws and a new raw material for producing goods. Their products can be cleaned and reused multiple times and, once they have reached the end of their lifecycle, they will decompose naturally.
RePack is the easiest way to implement circular economy in eCommerce. Using reusable and returnable RePack packaging service means sustainability in every package.
The reusable RePack bags are and made of durable and recycled materials and come in three adjustable sizes. They replace single-use packaging as the customer chooses RePack as the mean of package for delivery from the webstore. Once empty, the RePacks are designed to fold into letter size and can be returned to a postbox, free of charge, anywhere in the world. A voucher is sent to thank the customer for the return. This is the circular economy in action.
Sulapac has developed a fully biodegradable and microplastic-free material innovation to replace plastic. The wood-based material is both recyclable and mass-producible.
State of Green is a not-for-profit, public-private partnership from Denmark. It facilitates relations with international stakeholders and is a one-point entry to more than 500 leading Danish players working to drive the global transition to a sustainable, low-carbon, resource-efficient society.
As "Moving towards a circular economy" is one of the network's four global challenges, State of Green is highly active in communicating Denmark's policy and business leadership in this field. Since inception, the platform has:
PVC 2020 will continue to build on the reputation of this world-leading triennial conference series with a 4-day conference in Edinburgh from 20 to 23 April 2020.
Wolkat is an international group of seven innovative textile recycling companies. It was founded as a family business in 1948.
Today Wolkat is offering a complete circular solution for textiles. Collected textile is transformed in-house to new products for fashion, car or furniture industry. Sorting, recycling, spinning and weaving is all done in-house. All collected textile is transformed into a final product with hardly any water or any dye, leaving only 4-5 % waste from all textiles. The rest is new raw material.
CupClub is a tailored end-to-end returnable packaging service for drinks, helping to eliminate single-use plastic packaging for a more sustainable future. It replaces the need to purchase single-use packaging by providing smart, re-usable packaging as a service to retailers, brands and businesses - all while contributing 50% fewer CO2 emissions as compared to disposable cup usage.
Despite 66% of the world’s population being covered by e-waste legislation, only 20% of global e-waste is recycled each year. This means 40 million tonnes of e-waste end up outside of the waste infrastructure, and to help address this huge issue, the WEEE Forum launched the first International E-Waste Day in 2018. Organisations from across the world can get involved by organising activities on 14 October 2019 to unite in tackling the e-waste challenge.
For four days in 2019, Antwerp was the epicentre of the circular economy. More than 750 company leaders, scientists and policy makers from all over the world came to the city from February 24 to 27 for the World Resources Forum (WRF), organised by OVAM - the Public Waste Agency of Flanders. On the menu? Sessions on the power of the circular economy and the link with climate change, and an introduction to numerous pioneering projects and initiatives that are driving the transition.
The Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s DIF welcomes contributors from across the globe for its November 2019 sessions to share their ideas, stories and innovations to spark conversations with a worldwide audience.
Come to the Embassy of the Netherlands in Belgium on 8 October 2019 to learn more about best practice in financing the circular bioeconomy.
Circular economy increasingly attracts the interest of business, policy makers and academia in the search for answers to sustainability challenges. While earlier studies have presented drivers that support the introduction of new business concepts for circular economy, as well as barriers that hinder the rate of innovation in the field, no systematic categorizations of such factors have been brought forward.
Drawing on current literature, a framework of drivers and barriers is introduced, including seven distinct areas: environmental, economic, social, political and institutional, technological and informational, supply chain, and organizational factors. The appearance and content of these areas in practice have been examined in four case organizations by conducting thirty-six qualitative, semi-structured interviews. Empirical illustrations of the potential barriers and drivers provide managerial implications for better execution of circular business.
Circularity is a necessary solution to minimise the use of finite resources, but it requires a unified approach. The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), Global Fashion Agenda (GFA) and the Federation of the European Sporting Goods Industry (FESI) have launched a Policy Hub on Circular Economy to ensure collaboration among industry partners.
Together these organisations will kick-off the development of an impactful and effective policy framework. The C&A Foundation will fund the project throughout 2020.
The Hub seeks to promote and demonstrate the value of a European policy framework that accelerates circular economy in the apparel, footwear, and textile industry. The Policy Hub will collaborate with a range of initiatives and stakeholders to support the industry in closing the loop of their business practices.