The Circular Economy resources, tools and information for small businesses
A brief introduction and useful tools for small and medium sized businesses
04 Feb 2022 (updated)
The Earth’s resources are scarce and the consumer economy’s need to stimulate new demand for new things is unsustainable.
The essential concept at the heart of the circular economy is to ensure we can unmake everything we make; to deliver social and environmental value, as well as economic.
“Looking beyond the current 'take, make and dispose' extractive industrial model, the circular economy is restorative and regenerative by design. Relying on system-wide innovation, it aims to redefine products and services to design waste out, while minimising negative impacts. Underpinned by a transition to renewable energy sources, the circular model builds economic, natural and social capital.”
Ellen Macarthur Foundation
What is a circular economy?
A circular economy is an alternative to a traditional linear economy (make, use, dispose) in which we keep resources in use for as long as possible, extract the maximum value from them whilst in use, then recover and regenerate products and materials at the end of each service life.
Why is it relevant to my business?
Much like the movement towards environmental policies and practices that reduce waste and conserve energy, all businesses will be impacted eventually. Those at the forefront who show leadership and innovation will make significant economic gains, likely at the expense of those that kick against the principles.
What is most notable about the concepts of the Circular Economy is that they embrace every element of a product or service, from it’s inception right through to its disposal or regeneration. It will interlink businesses from across traditional, linear sectors and create new design, supply and regeneration supply chains, bringing significant new business models and opportunities.
The majority of business owners in the UK, when asked, will say it has something to do with reducing waste, so there is still a long way to go. The reality is that, at this early stage in global industry’s understanding, it is unlikely there will be an overnight shift in the relations, contracts and supply chains of the average business, but it will not be long before subtle and important changes begin to filter through.
Image Source: World Bank Group
Why is a Circular Economy important for the UK?
As well as creating new opportunities for growth, a more circular economy will:
- reduce waste
- drive greater resource productivity
- deliver a more competitive UK economy
- position the UK to better address emerging resource security/scarcity issues in the future.
- help reduce the environmental impacts of our production and consumption in both the UK and abroad
Resources, support, further information
|Advance London support project for London SMEs
|Business in the Community
|Ellen MacArthur Foundation
|Circular Economy Toolkit
|Circular Economy in the Built Environment
|The Circular Design Guide
|The New Plastics Economy and The Plastics Pact
|Circular Economy in Fashion