How a circular economy could aid the COVID-19 recovery

A group of researchers led by the UK’s University of Warwick concluded that a circular economy could help the world recover from the pandemic, while also helping nations reach net-zero carbon emissions goals. All industries can and should adopt a circular economy, says Dr Taofeeq Ibn-Mohammed, assistant professor in the Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG), with strategies adapted to each sector. Circular economy strategies could help create a more sustainable and secure food sector. These include ‘regenerative agriculture’ approaches such as using food waste to replenish nutrients in the soil. Anaerobic digestion can be used to create biogas from organic nutrients. Urban agriculture – cultivating crops and animals for food in and around cities – is another circular opportunity.

The World Economic Forum is a supporter of The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, which works to accelerate the world’s transition to a circular economy. The foundation recently set out 10 circular investment opportunities across five key sectors: the built environment, fashion, plastic packaging, food and mobility. The Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Scotland, Denmark and Finland are among the nations pushing forward circular economy agendas. For example, the Netherlands has a government-wide programme to achieve a circular Dutch economy by 2050.

More than 40 countries, companies and international organizations work together to accelerate the transition to a circular economy as members of the Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy (PACE). Launched in 2017 by the World Economic Forum, the PACE community consists of 80 public, private, international and civil society executive leaders and more than 200 members championing 18 projects across the globe.

Source: WEF

Author: Kirsi Seppänen