Businesses stand to realize a range of benefits to start transitioning toward a circular economy and away from today’s current ‘take-make-waste’ model.”
In addition to reduced costs, businesses can enjoy heightened brand equity and improved reputation with consumers and other external stakeholders; increased value generation for ESG investors; and lower regulatory, legal, and reputational risks.
Bartlett also explained that circular economies could strengthen businesses’ ability to attract and retain talented employees—from employing workers with skills in sustainable product design to workers tasked with collecting and recovering recyclable materials.
Several studies also back up the idea that the circular economy can boost jobs—most of the research to date has emerged from Europe, where the circular economy is more advanced. The International Labour Organization projects the net creation of 18 million green jobs by 2030, including 4 million in manufacturing and 9 million in renewables and construction.
While there is still far to go to achieve these changes at scale, more and more businesses are committing to sustainable approaches. In response to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, more than 50 global leaders, including CEOs of some of the world’s largest companies, policymakers, and other influential individuals worldwide, signed a joint statement in June 2020 calling for a transition to a circular economy. Leaders involved spanned fashion, food, healthcare, technology, mobility, electronics, and chemicals industries. In the plastics sector, more than 1,000 organizations have agreed upon a shared vision of a circular economy for plastics.
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