It has been estimated that by the year 2030, we will require the natural resources of two earths and by 2050, three planets. The problem isn’t just that we are using resources faster than the Earth can produce them, it’s also that our global economic productivity is falling. This is despite technology and efficiency improvements invented over the decades.
Since the Industrial Revolution, we have been able to depend on natural resources to achieve economic growth, and development, and raise the standard of living. But we have overutilised these resources, which has resulted in them becoming scarcer, more expensive, and is having a negative impact on the environment. We need to find new ways to create more sustainable economic growth models that generate more employment and improve competitiveness.
In order to improve and protect the air we breathe, the water we drink, the soil we use to grow our food, and the energy we consume, we must think about the application of a circular economy. It is imperative to work now for the benefit of our planet and the future generation.
So why a circular economy? Circular economy is a disruptive, innovative economic model that is impacting government policy, businesses, and consumers. Many objects that we use in our day-to-day life have a defined start and end of life, some particularly in industries such as health care or hospitality items that are often constrained further to just single use.
Once these items have been distributed, consumed, thrown away, they often end up in landfills or pollute the seas and the oceans. In this linear, or cradle to grave model, very little is recycled or repurposed. The circular economy model requires firms in different sectors across the value chain to integrate disruptive technology and design business models that are based on longevity, renewability, reuse, repair, upgrade, refurbishment, serviceability, capacity sharing, and dematerialisation. Organisations still have to take into consideration cost management and control, but they have to think bigger.
To learn more about how we at Cambridge are facilitating the transformation to a more sustainable future via the circular economy, please visit the Circular Economy Centre website or connect with us on Twitter.