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Our world is only 9% circular – let’s close the gap!

24 January 2019

During the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Circle Economy launched the second annual Circularity Gap Report. The report emphasises that our linear model is effectively no longer fit for purpose, failing both people and the planet. Circular economy strategies have the potential to be instrumental in the push to mitigate the associated climate impacts since climate change and material use are closely linked. Circle Economy calculates that 62% of global greenhouse gas emissions (excluding those from land use and forestry) are released during the extraction, processing and manufacturing of goods to serve society’s needs; only 38% are emitted in the delivery and use of products and services.

However, most governments barely consider circular economy measures in policies aimed at meeting the UN target of limiting global warming to 1.5°C, the report states. Harald Friedl, CEO of Circle Economy, explains “governments’ climate change strategies have focused on renewable energy, energy efficiency and avoiding deforestation but they have overlooked the vast potential of the circular economy. They should re-engineer supply chains all the way back to the wells, fields, mines and quarries where our resources originate so that we consume fewer raw materials. This will not only reduce emissions but also boost growth by making economies more efficient”.

Public authorities can make the shift using tools of circular procurement, adding elements of material reuse, lifecycle costing and regenerative design to tender process. The project Circular PP is pioneering this approach working with several European municipalities. To learn more about the project, click here. ICLEI and the EU Commission recently published a helpful guide on circular procurement. Check it out here.

Read the full Circularity Gap Report here.