Circular Economy

A circular economy promotes initiatives that help our societies transition from linear, wasteful models towards circular, inclusive and sustainable ones.

Discover how this new economic model works


Since the 1970s, humanity has been in ecological overshoot, with annual demand on resources exceeding what Earth can regenerate each year. Today humanity uses the equivalent of 1.6 Earths to provide the resources we use and absorb our waste.” Global Footprint Network

So, it is important and urgent to decouple economic growth from resource depletion. This is why, a circular economy seems like an attractive and viable solution to explore. It breaks with the traditional pattern of linear production (produce, use, dispose), to which it substitutes a logical loop, optimizing value creation throughout the life cycle.

 

What is a circular economy?

According to ADEME, the French Environment and Energy Management Agency, most key players unite over a definition of circular economy that is broadly based on seven pillars:

    • Sustainable supply chains, including sustainable mining
    • Eco-design: integration of environmental criteria at the design phase of a product
    • Industrial and territorial ecology: form of organization based on the analysis of all flows from one territory in order to set up an optimized management of resources and significant level of recycling of matter and energy, in a short local distribution circuit logic to reduce environmental impact.
    • Economy of the feature & collaborative economy: favoring use over ownership
    • Responsible consumption: responsible purchasing, good use of products
    • Extension of the duration of use and remanufacturing: re-use and repair
    • Recycling

More broadly, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a circular economy is restorative and regenerative by design, aiming to keep products, components, and materials at their highest utility and value at all times. It is based on three principles:

  • Principle 1: Preserve and enhance natural capital, by controlling finite stocks and balancing renewable resource flows
  • Principle 2: Optimize resource yields, by circulating products, components, and materials at the highest utility at all times in both technical and biological cycles
  • Principle 3: Foster system effectiveness, by revealing and designing out negative externalities

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