The circular economy is a trillion-dollar opportunity

In a great interview a Sustainability specialist for Accenture mentioned that this company believes that the circular economy is a 6 trillion Dollar opportunity by 2030.

If you have read my review of Cradle to cradle by William McDonough and Michael Braungart, or better the book, you know how enthusiastic I am about how the circular economy could transform our global economies.

As Eco Business reports in this article :

(e)xperts say that the traditional “take-make-dispose” economic models, where manufacturing, consuming and disposing goods are a linear process, are becoming increasingly unviable.

For example, the World Economic Forum estimates that 80 per cent of the US$ 3.2 trillion value of the global consumer goods sector is lost irrecoverably each year due to this wasteful model.

As Peter Lacy, managing director of Accenture’s Strategy and Sustainability Services in the Asia Pacific region noted in his interview :

It does not surprise me that the circular economy was such a prominent trend (nota : the trend of sustainability). I do think that it is the key concept that unlocks our global ability to drive growth and prospect, and sustain livelihoods in a way that decouples manufacturing processes from natural resource use and environmental impact.

When taken to the extreme, and in the long run, I hope it even starts to restore the natural environment.

But I think we also need to be honest and open about the limitations of the approach; that is, it is very focused on resource efficiency and the environment, and does not address all sustainable development challenges.

There are much broader socio-economic challenges, and we should not overstate the case of the circular economy. It is by no means a panacea, but a powerful component, and one that we will see a lot more of in the future.  

I totally agree with Mr Lacy and I am glad that some business people are committed to both the circular economy and sustainability as a whole.

Image credits : Flickr, Elisa Bracco


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