The report, entitled Virtuous Circle, uses case studies to demonstrate how circular economy business models can increase productivity and economic growth, improve the quality and quantity of employment, and reduce water and air pollution. In addition to these benefits, the authors assert that the circular economy, as an alternative growth model, could significantly contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and reduce the tension between lifting people out of poverty and protecting the planet.
“We are creating mountains of waste and it’s killing us and the planet. In many cases these pollutants can instead be used to reduce poverty through creating jobs and boosting the economy, by adopting a circular economy approach,” said Tearfund’s senior policy advisor Joanne Green.
“In our current linear economy, we make a product, we use it and when it breaks or there’s a newer model available, we discard it. This means that the materials used to make it are lost to landfill, and products are made from new materials; with a lot more greenhouse gases and other pollutants released in the process.”
Case studies from Brazil, Ghana, Kenya and India lend insight into the circular economy’s potential in development work. From waste-to-energy to resource efficiency projects and more, circular initiatives can improve standards of living and help prevent deaths linked to mismanagement of waste and pollutants. In particular, the report authors highlight that organic waste can be both a profitable source of renewable energy and fertilizer if used correctly.
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