Our choice of materials directly impacts a variety of environmental, social and economic risks associated with producing goods. This ranges from labour conditions and trade flows to pollution, climate change and land use. Efforts need to be made to establish a circular management of all resources and materials to ensure that they can all be cycled indefinitely. This will fundamentally halt the environmental degradation caused by our production and consumption systems and push for a change in the way and the extent to which we extract, produce, use and dispose of goods and raw materials. The focus should be on enabling a complete paradigm shift that is based on placing value on everything we use and produce, moving away from an extractive towards a regenerative economy. The core of this transition theme is transforming our current model of linear resource use through circular products and circularity-enabling processes, technologies, business models and business practices.
Moving from the extract-use-dispose, or linear, paradigm to an economy that thrives, where natural resources are truly valued and kept in the loop as long as possible, where goods are produced responsibly, and consumption patterns contribute to reduced resource waste.
- Resource extraction should be minimised whenever possible
- Materials and resources should be cycled at a continuously high value
- The built environment should be based on a conscious use of materials and be designed to exist in harmony with nature
- The global economic system should be based on responsible production and consumption of both goods and services
- Nature-based solutions should be encouraged wherever possible
Examples of relevant activities:
- Water management
- Material recycling
- Waste reduction and waste management
- Bio-materials development, production and adoption
- Sustainable buildings and building materials
- Circular production and consumption and circularity-related services
- Afforestation and nature-based solutions