Analysis: The Case of the Underperforming Circular Economy
The circular economy — the idea of integrating sourcing, production and consumption within common systems to minimize waste, extend the life-cycle of products and stimulate innovation across the value chain to advance sustainability — is a powerful concept.
While not a new idea — it builds upon methods such as life-cycle analysis and the pioneering work of Bill McDonough and Michael Braungart’s “cradle to cradle” — the circular economy has enormous appeal due to its comprehensive scope and applicability to a host of major sustainability problems. It has spawned a growth industry of consultants, think tanks, initiatives and demonstration projects — all generating lofty statements and rising expectations of major breakthroughs.
And therein lies a problem.
Photo courtesy of Vadim Wayer.