Floods and extreme weather, crop failure, plastics consumption and fast fashion name but a few of the areas in the media spotlight as a result of the planetary crisis and climate change agenda.
The time for denial is over. It is time to act.
According to the Climate Change Commission, life on Earth is in crisis: scientists agree we have entered a period of abrupt climate breakdown, and we have limited time to fully implement the necessary changes to avoid a climate catastrophe.
According to the Circularity Gap Report 2019, the global economy is currently only 9% circular. This offers limitless opportunities for moving away from a linear ‘take-make-waste economy’ to one that is more circular.
The world – and in particular businesses - however, have a $4.5 trillion opportunity and role to play by moving to a circular economy.
In terms of growth potential areas, a recent report from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation suggests that opportunities within three of the largest and most resource intensive European value chains: mobility, food, and the built environment could play a vital role in satisfying human needs in a more circular way. The time has come for businesses and cities to respond and it is within these key areas that Circular Glasgow aims to support ambitious circular growth.
The future of cities
Cities are becoming smarter. We are now collecting vast rivers of data thanks to the millions of items connected to the Internet of Things: from toasters, trashcans and taxis. This data is enabling smarter decisions to be made about how to manage resources in our cities.
These new insights are opening up new circular business opportunities, from providing pay-per-use service models, to increasing the use of secondary materials. For example, material passports are allowing us to keep track of materials through their lifespan, and plan well in advance for future reuse.
The future of consumption
The consumer of the future is not concerned with actually owning a product, but rather receiving a high-quality and sustainable service. These trends are already happening; consumers of today have never been more conscious of their consumption decisions, and the sharing economy has been galvanised through giants such as Airbnb.
The circular economy offers a huge range of new business models. From electric car sharing schemes to washing machines-as-a-service, circular business models are tapping into these consumer trends to fundamentally change the way we consume.
The future of work
With rapid advancements in technologies and shifts in populations, the future of the world of work is becoming more and more uncertain. Therefore, it is increasingly important to nurture ‘future-proof’ skill-sets that are tailored to flexibility and adaptability, rather than rigidly teaching to the moulds of today’s jobs (which may not be there tomorrow!).
Topping the list for most desirable skills for the future are social skills, complex problem solving and creativity. These skills are also important for a circular economy. Therefore, nurturing these skills can help create a future-proof labour market for all that can thrive in a circular economy.