Universal circular economy


The Ellen MacArthur Foundation has set out five universal circular economy policy goals that provide a framework for national governments, cities and businesses to create a transition that fosters innovation and decouples growth from finite resource consumption and environmental degradation.

Benefits of a circular economy

A circular economy can regenerate natural systems and improve resilience, health and wellbeing. It can also help tackle global issues like:
  • climate change
  • pollution
  • biodiversity loss
The circular economy brings health benefits through reduced environmental impacts, improved resource management, and advances in food safety and security. Studies also indicate that a circular economy has the potential to bring an average net employment gain.
Moving to a circular economy is essential for delivering Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12 on responsible consumption and production. It can also deliver benefits across the other 11 SDGs such as SDG9 on industrial development, and SDG13 on climate action amongst others.
Why we need universal circular economy policy goals
As governments and industries around the globe move towards a circular economy, it’s key to align ambitions and create a common direction of travel.
The five goals provide a blueprint for co-operation – we need to work together across the private and public sectors to make them effective.
The goals recognise that the relevant policies are interconnected – this will help avoid the creation of a patchwork of fragmented solutions. If we can align nationally and internationally, we can reduce friction across borders and lower costs. Close co-operation also minimises the risk of individual policy measures remaining isolated in a wider, unchanged economic system that’s based on a linear ‘take-make-waste’ approach.


Downloadable resources
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