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Circular Economy by Felix Preston

Circular Economy by Felix Preston

Chatham House has launched it's briefing paper entitled 'A Global Redesign?  Shaping the Circular Economy'.  This follows on from an event in York hosted jointly by the Centre for Low Carbon Futures and the York Environmental Sustainability Institute in October 2011 focusing on the circular economy, and subsequent discussions with Chatham House, both attended by Jeremy Barnett.

The paper calls for 'Smart Regulation', a new concept.

The main elements of the paper are:

  • A fundamentally new model of industrial organization is needed to de-link rising prosperity from resource consumption growth – one that goes beyond incremental efficiency gains to deliver transformative change.

  • A 'circular economy' (CE) is an approach that would transform the function of resources in the economy. Waste from factories would become a valuable input to another process – and products could be repaired, reused or upgraded instead of thrown away.

  • In a world of high and volatile resource prices, a CE offers huge business opportunities. Pioneering companies are leading the way on a CE, but to drive broader change it is critical to collect and share data, spread best practice, invest in innovation and encourage business-to-business collaboration.

  • Policy-makers should focus on accelerating transition to a CE in a timescale consistent with the response to climate change, water scarcity and other global challenges. Smart regulation can reward private-sector leadership and align incentives along the supply chain – for example, to deliver a step-change in remanufacturing rates.

  • Resource consumption targets that reflect environmental constraints should be considered at a global level. Coordination of national policies would help create a level playing field across major markets, easing competitiveness concerns and reducing the costs of implementation.

click here to download the paper.

Smart Regulation

The paper calls for a number of initiatives including:

Fiscal measures including pricing to encourage minimal resource use and incentivees for owners to put materials back into circulation

End of Life regulations such as the WEE regulations that should focus on rates of remanufacture and reuse

'Top Runner' Standards, used in Japan since the 1970s, this policy sets minimum average energy performance standards for products that tighten over time.

Public Procurement and support for innovation: emphasises the importance of public sector purchasing in supply chains

Addressing legal frameworks: review of company to company cooperation, eg anti trust, data protection and security law.

For any advice and assistance for issues like these please do call Jeremy on 0844 2722322 or submit a comment below. Jeremy will come back to you at the earliest convenience.

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