Category Archives: Circular economy

What does the spectacular rise of the sharing economy mean for the environment?

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

Top 10: circular economy resources

Abstract circular backgroundA representative of a leading US company recently told me that it was seeking a bigger presence in the UK because of our “thought leadership” on the circular economy.

That is in large part due to more than fifteen years of work by WRAP and Green Alliance, two organisations I have the privilege to work with, along with the Royal Society of Arts, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and a host of progressive business organisations.

But how to access the wealth of excellent material available on the subject? For key entry points, here are my top ten suggestions to help you get to grips with the circular economy: Read more

Will the EU’s new circular economy plans live up to expectation?

illustration europeA version of this post first appeared on BusinessGreen.

After months of speculation, we will soon have clarity on a debate that’s been rumbling on for months. No, I’m not talking about who’s going to run the country, but what the European Commission means by a “more ambitious” circular economy package.  This is the set of policy and regulatory measures proposed by the Commission to minimise waste and make the most of the economic opportunities from repair and recycling across Europe. Read more

Building a circular economy, one smartphone at a time

smartphone - highways EnglandSmartphones, tablets and laptops are ubiquitous in the wealthy world, and the makers of these devices have their eyes set on selling to the next five billion consumers in emerging markets. And why not? Access to the internet is a good thing, and digital technologies can enable better resource productivity, smarter conservation, and lower waste. The fact that smart devices have been selling like hotcakes for the past decade might lead business executives to think more growth is practically inevitable. Read more

Low resource prices are no reason to go slow on better productivity

Abfüllung von GetränkedosenA version of this post first appeared on BusinessGreen.

Resource prices have been in the news again of late, although this time for the refreshing reason  that they’ve been tumbling instead of skyrocketing. Falls in food and transport prices have led to the lowest inflation rate since records began and underpinned the first steady rise in real wages in five years. Read more

Scotland could use the oil price crash to kick-start CCS

Offshore oil platform, North ScotlandThis post first appeared on Guardian Sustainable Business.

Such was the shock of the oil price’s precipitous decline in recent months that tongues were set swiftly wagging about what the explanation could be. Killing off electric vehicles, US shale producers, or Iran’s and Russia’s economies, were all put forward as the real reason behind OPEC’s public explanation that keeping the taps open and so depressing prices is about protecting market share. Read more

Lessons from Easter Island about why we need a circular economy

Osterinsel Moai StatueThis post is by Liz Goodwin, CEO of WRAP. It first appeared on Guardian Sustainable Business.

We hear a lot about how we are running out of resources but, for many people, it is hard to visualise. Sometimes I’m asked: “Could it really happen?” The simple answer is yes, it could. And a lot sooner than we might think if change isn’t initiated soon. In fact, we have examples of where it has already happened. Read more

What’s the role of the environment in business success?

BuchenwaldThis post first appeared on the CBI’s The Great Business Debate.

The environment has been the bank that keeps on giving for business:  it is the source of materials, and the sink for waste products. The sheer size of our oceans and continents and the absorption capacity of the atmosphere has meant that this free business support service has been central to many companies’ success. Read more

How resource efficiency can also reduce unemployment

Businessman and worker talking next to conveyor belt in recycling plantPretty much everyone who is in favour of a new industry or development will claim that it creates jobs. Yesterday I typed “create thousands of jobs” into Google and got over 227,000 results back for this exact phrase. Everyone from broadband suppliers to airport operators, public authorities to large internet retailers are playing the jobs card. And, if you want to prevent something happening, saying it “threatens jobs” is also a popular tactic, according to another Google search. Read more

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