Decade of Action: Importance of Circular Economy
“As the 'circular' approach to sustainability begins to gather ground, we humans are finding ourselves within the circle, not without.”
― Michiel Schwarz
The circular economy is like a hollow ball filled with ambition and hope for today’s age that is what we are asking for. It is an economic system aimed at eliminating waste and the continual use of resources and their optimum utilization. It helps in making a sustainable economy in terms of the reuse of resources and recycling of those who are in making new prospects. The circular economy is a multifaceted concept that originated in Europe in times of the Industrial Revolution. It involves the usage of waste material and energy as input and produces sustainable output.
It emphasizes minimizing the use of resource inputs and along with the lesser creation of waste, pollution, and carbon emissions with sustainable output with profit. According to the World Economic Forum, the circular economy in the initiation period can create $4.5Trillion business opportunities.
But today only 9% of the economy is circular in nature. As policy-makers worldwide respond to a rising tension due to anger of climate activism and extreme weather events, the climate change crisis we heard of has the concept of the circular economy which becomes a key factor in the climate action tool kit prepared by the United Nations to combat climate change.
Around half of the world’s current greenhouse gas emissions result from the extraction and processing of natural resources such as fuel, natural gas, etc with demand for raw materials under a ‘business-as-usual scenario predicted to double by 2050 as amazon rainforest, tundra in the arctic region and other African forest are reducing at high speed.
Indeed, the general public is increasingly interested in the concept and its importance in preserving life on Earth because besides Elon Musk no one wants to leave Earth. As we enter the decade of “Action Now” of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and climate action, there is an emerging consensus that circular economy solutions are critical to achieving those goals by the 2030 deadline because unavailability of action plans and technology is needed.
There are some concerns regarding the functioning of the circular economy due to the present scenario rather than a build-up of any economy in states. These concerns include social sustainability and perseverance for them. Strongly rooted in environmental sustainability in this unusual build-up scenario, the circular economy framework lacks an elaborated description of the social dimension of sustainability.
Its principles are primarily formulated from a business point of view that maximizes value and profits and also strives equally for environmental and economic benefits. Social benefits are often lacking. Lack of strategic guidelines and availability of those solutions is another difficulty in implementing a circular economy. As the implementation of circular economy varies significantly for different products and markets whether it includes fashion, manufacturing, or information technology, the need for individualized or sectoral approaches makes it difficult to provide general guidelines to work in a sustainable environment.
Circular Economy is a climate agenda for the twenty-first century, given the situation the climatic arrangement by nature is at its breaking point. The tip of the iceberg is known to us but the whole titanic is going to happen but to reduce the severity we need to work towards sustainability.
The Circularity Gap Report 2021 has identified many circular strategies that can keep the planet on a well below 2°C trajectory by cutting greenhouse emissions by 22.8 billion tonnes beyond what is achieved by current pledges — a 39 percent reduction from the 2019 year’s levels. The circular economy provides a diverse foundation for a “new, inclusive and green economy” that should be co-created and celebrated.
The circular economy is a global endeavor. The circular economy provides a new opportunity to provide a strong foundation for playing the field from which to build sustainable future economies. The global economy is highly integrated. Doing away with the linear economy requires fundamental changes across geographies at all scales. Micro and macro-level solutions all have an important role to play. Till today, the circular economy has primarily focused on the challenges of industrialized economies and slowly moving towards other sectors as well.
Developing and emerging economies deserve urgent attention. This will require better integration of social and human development considerations. We need to convince and push policymakers towards faster and better decision making; especially given the importance of circular jobs creation and to make available the labor force participation in sustainable development. The circular economy provides wellbeing for all within planetary boundaries. Jobs enhance this well-being by contributing to thriving societies and the equal distribution of wealth, land resources, and in general the “space” to live.
A broad and diverse coalition is needed. No paradigm shift can happen overnight and without broad and diverse support therefore unity with diversity is asked. As a primarily economic discipline, the circular economy must empower business and industry. Policymakers must shift macro-economic incentives and need to tighten the grip of policy around value chains and support price systems. Our society must continue to lead on conceptual development and keep strong checks and balances in place to safeguard long-term benefits in our social arena of human life.