This post is by Thomas Fischer, head of the Circular Economy Programme at Environmental Action Germany (DUH)
This week we celebrated a rather tragic landmark: the point when we used up all the resources that our planet can regenerate in one year. The fact that Earth Overshoot Day happened in early August points to the gravity of resource overconsumption, but the costs are already visible in ocean acidification, water pollution, destruction of forests and nearly every other environmental problem. Fortunately, there is a solution: a resource efficient circular economy. Germany has pursued a circular economy agenda for the past decade in industry, but retailers haven’t been keeping up.
Now that the dust has settled after the referendum and the new government is in place, it’s a good point to take stock and consider what Brexit will mean for UK national environment policy.
Here, our policy experts give their insights on the likely impact and challenges of different scenarios in the three areas of our work: climate and energy, natural environment and resources.
As the UK heads towards the EU’s exit door, there is an urgent need for a new economic model. A recession looks likely, and even the optimists concede that the next few years will be challenging for the UK economy. Read more
Have you ever shattered your mobile phone screen? Or maybe your washing machine has packed up, and the repair costs so much you might as well buy a new one? Yesterday, national governments of the EU’s 28 member states, including the UK, have endorsed your right to repair these goods, by pledging to make manufacturers design more durable and repairable products. Read more
This post is by Emily Coats and Dustin Benton, co-authors of a new Green Alliance briefing Job creation and the circular economy.
Labour markets are news again. Of course, the term never appears in the headlines, but the effects of a changing jobs market are front page news: Donald Trump, Norbert Hofer, Marine Le Pen and even the UK’s own EU referendum are the political expression of a battle between cosmopolitans, who benefit from a globalised economy, and those whose employment is at risk from globalisation, mechanisation and a declining manufacturing base. Read more
Here in Brussels, the circular economy is dominating conversations in the EU district. To someone living in the UK, this may come as a surprise: industrial policy has fallen out of favour in Britain. But the Circular Economy Action Plan is the subject of two or three events every day here. Brussels is a city which loves to talk, but there is more to it than that. Replacing the linear make-use-dispose model with a new approach based on reuse, repair, remanufacture and recycling is being heralded as the new economic driver for Europe.
So here are five things you should know: Read more
A version of this post first appeared on BusinessGreen.
The European Commission this week fired the starting gun on its circular economy programme, and the panoply of documents released shows that it will be a marathon, not a sprint. As you’d expect for a programme designed to usher in a “profound transformation of the way our entire economy works,” it contains 54 separate actions, with deadlines stretching from the end of this month to the end of 2018.
Green Alliance was among the first organisations to recognise the potential of the financial sector to drive sustainability. In 1992, alongside the Rio environment summit, UNEP brokered a Statement by Banks on Environment and Sustainable Development, and Green Alliance encouraged UK institutions to get involved.
Four years later, Green Alliance assessed progress against the pledges: it was discernible, but slow. Twenty-odd years on, we see the seeds sown at Rio yielding results, as financial institutions start to act on the risks and opportunities presented by environmental challenges. Read more
This post first appeared on Business Green.
Think of innovation and what comes to mind? Blue skies, blank sheets of paper, keeping your thoughts showering and definitely outside of any boxes? These might be helpful for great leaps forward, but most technological development occurs through a series of small shuffles: a one per cent efficiency gain here, a five per cent weight reduction there. This is the kind of optimisation that delivers a competitive advantage rather than creates a whole new market, and a long term study by McKinsey has shown that focusing on a few key objectives is a vital part of successfully innovating to deliver incremental improvements. Read more
Over the past five years there’s been a lot of hype about the sharing economy. Hundreds of start-ups are popping up (many of which epically fail) providing opportunities to share everything from sofas to secrets. There’s still much debate about what the sharing economy actually is, and how it overlaps with similar concepts like collaborative consumption and the peer to peer economy. Read more