Our current economic model is dominated by a linear approach to consumption and production, where materials are grown or extracted, then made into goods which are used and then disposed of. Whilst the circular economy – where resources are recovered at their highest quality and kept in circulation for as long as possible – is not a new concept, it has become increasingly popular in recent years as more businesses seek an alternative to our current ‘take, make, dispose’ economic model.
A more circular approach seeks to decouple economic growth from resource consumption. This could help overcome pressures on resources arising from the estimated growth of the global middle class. Moving to this model could create new economic and employment opportunities and provide environmental benefits through improved resource use.
The circular economy is complex and there’s a lot of technical and theoretical information about it already in existence. What’s been missing is the practical framework to help guide organizations to simplify and identify what is relevant to them.