Towards the Circular Economy: Accelerating the scale-up across global supply chains
In a world of close to 9 billion expected by 2030 – including 3 billion new middle-class consumers – the challenges of expanding supply to meet future demand are unprecedented. Our current ‘take-make-dispose’ approach results in massive waste, and in the fast-moving consumer goods sector about 80% of the US$ 3.2 trillion value is lost irrecoverably each year.
The switch from a linear to a regenerative circular economy provides credible and quantified perspectives to address this generational challenge. The circular economy is a generic term for an economy that is regenerative by design. Materials flows are of two types, biological materials, designed to re-enter the biosphere, and technical materials, designed to circulate with minimal loss of quality, in turn entraining the shift towards an economy ultimately powered by renewable energy. Ultimately the circular economy could decouple economic growth from resource consumption – truly a step-change.
During 2013, the World Economic Forum in partnership with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation – with the support of McKinsey & Company – engaged in conversations with key business leaders and experts to identify the relevant trigger points for scaling up this new model. This report describes the results of the research and lays out a plan of action. It highlights the need for more circular flows of major global raw materials.