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OUR VISION FOR PRODUCTS & MATERIALS BY 2050

Resource use is optimized to meet society’s needs while allowing the systems that provide resources to regenerate

01

THE ECONOMY IS CIRCULAR

02

PRODUCTS ARE CIRCULAR BY DESIGN

03

PRODUCT LIFECYCLES MAXIMIZE VAUE & PROTECT NATURE

04

THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY LEAVES NO ONE BEHIND

KEY TRANSITIONS

CIRCULAR BUSINESS MODELS BECOME THE NORM, CREATING ECONOMIC, ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL OPPORTUNITIES

  •  Governments work with businesses and other stakeholders to develop regulatory structures that maximize long-term value by encouraging recycled and renewable materials.
  • Companies innovate and scale new technologies and business models, creating substantial new markets that spring from and enhance the circular economy.
  • Investment enables developing countries to embed sustainable production and consumption at the heart of their economies.
  • The emergence of a more circular and service-based economy creates a wide range of jobs globally across industrial sectors.
  • A thriving circular economy provides workers and businesses with greater opportunities to transition from the informal to the formal economy.

A CIRCULAR BIOECONOMY PLAYS AN INCREASINGLY CENTRAL ROLE IN GLOBAL ECONOMIC ACTIVITY

  • A circular bioeconomy plays an important role in reinforcing a circular, low-carbon economy, helping mitigate climate change while also providing materials to satisfy society’s needs.
  • All industries seize opportunities to complement or substitute non-renewable and fossil-based materials with bio-based resources that are renewable and sustainably managed.
  • Biological resources are recovered and reused as much as possible. When resources can no longer be reintroduced into the economy, they are safely returned to nature as nutrients.
  • Wood and fiber products are sourced from healthy, working forests that also provide multiple benefits such as carbon storage, clean air and water, natural habitats, and rural livelihoods.

GOODS AND SERVICES MEET THE NEEDS OF COMMUNITIES AROUND THE WORLD, WHILE LEAVING NO ONE BEHIND

  • Circular models of production along value chains ensure that the needs of a growing global population are met at the drastically lower rates of per capita primary resource use needed to keep within planetary boundaries.
  • Everyday products are made more accessible and affordable through resale, renting and service models.
  • Businesses, governments, and multi-stakeholder platforms work to ensure that human rights are protected and respected throughout global supply chains.
  • The shift to a more circular economy occurs in a people-centric fashion, ensuring that rights are respected and that workers are engaged and empowered to benefit from transformation.

MATERIAL COLLECTION AND RECOVERY IMPROVES EXPONENTIALLY

  • Laws against pollution and waste, and taxes on landfills become routinely and consistently enforced, strengthening the case for reuse, recycling and composting.
  • The food, feed, natural materials, and energy products that make up the bioeconomy are produced to be reintroduced into a circular system through cascading uses, reprocessing, and eventually composting and anaerobic digestion.
  • Solutions such as take-back schemes and reverse logistics become business as usual. The volume of materials collected versus sold reaches near parity.
  • Recycling is made easier for consumers.
  • Strong collaboration develops among end-of-use logistics and material processing firms.

THE FLOW OF WASTE INTO THE ENVIRONMENT IS ENDED AND NATURE RESTORED

  • Waste systems transform at national, regional and local levels. Cross-sector collaboration, investment, and standardization drive enhanced stewardship of materials and products at different stages of their life cycle and value chain.
  • Innovations emerge and scale that make recycling and recovering materials easier. Consistently designed infrastructure is established to collect, sort, manage, and recycle household and municipal waste.
  • Products that contain plastics and other materials that cannot be collected and recycled are designed to biodegrade completely without harmful materials as a last resort.
  • Large-scale global clean-up efforts remove plastic and other waste that has found its way into the environment.

PEOPLE EMBRACE CIRCULAR, REGENERATIVE
AND SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE CONSUMPTION

  • Society reassesses its relationship with consumption. Responsible consumption and return behaviors are increasingly valued and rewarded through policy-driven incentives and pricing models.
  • Consumer behavior shifts towards circular models of consumption as awareness grows of increasing resource scarcity and the environmental impacts of waste. Consumers come to value access more than ownership, and increasingly accept second-hand products.
  • Business plays a significant role in educating and driving consumer appetite for circular economy products and responsible consumption patterns.
  • Relevant information about the provenance and sustainability performance of products informs more sustainable purchasing decisions.
  • Business continually explores innovative sustainable packaging solutions.

TECHNOLOGY ADVANCES ARE DEPLOYED RESPONSIBLY AND DRIVE IMPROVED EFFICIENCY
AND TRANSPARENCY ACROSS THE VALUE CHAIN

  • Advances in robotics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning drive economic and resource efficiency gains and create value at each stage of the manufacturing process.
  • Technological advances make recycling, repair, remanufacturing, and collection processes safer and more automated, leading to more efficient recycling yields.
  • Technology supports enhanced transparency and accountability around the environmental and social impacts of products throughout supply chains and life cycles.

ACTION AREAS

FOR BUSINESS

2021-2030

01

Develop new business models to ensure product life cycles are extended for as long as possible, prioritizing maintenance and refurbishment where appropriate.

02

Integrate circularity and next-life use into all aspects of business strategy from product design to go-to-market, after-sales service and end-of-life collection. Map and identify value chain gaps in capabilities related to closing circular loops, and work to address them internally and together with partners.

03

Invest in the innovation and adoption of sustainable and circular biological products that store carbon and substitute non-renewable and fossil-based materials, while also setting ambitious, science-informed, goals that contribute to nature recovery.

04

Account for the true value of products and materials by factoring in natural, social and human capital costs. Update accounting principles to encourage longer life.

05

Establish consensus on and uptake of a common set of definitions and metrics to enhance decision-making, collaboration, and disclosure of circular performance and linear risk.

06

Employ a people-centric approach to innovation, investing in the continual upskilling, reskilling and empowerment of workers in the face of emerging business models and new technologies.

07

Engage in positive advocacy with policymakers to create a playing field that ultimately favors secondary materials.

08

Develop and improve internal policies and systems for human rights due diligence as set out by the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and ensure human rights are respected across all global value chains.

09

Drive collaborative efforts that cut across value chains to invest in improved local capacity and infrastructure for the collection and processing of materials necessary to support circular business models, particularly in developing countries.

10

Collaborate on campaigns to drive global consumer behavior change, targeting enhanced acceptance and preference for durability and serviceability as well as refurbished and recycled products while also making recycling as easy and convenient as possible.

Most Relevant SDGS

OTHER TRANSFORMATION PATHWAYS

Explore the other critical action areas that will drive a shift towards a sustainable future

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