According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, nearly 45 per cent of total current carbon emissions are from the production and usage of products, with the remaining emissions from energy. The circular economy is a new way of optimising resource utilisation, with emphasis on reducing waste, then reusing and recycling products and materials. It applies to industrial materials production and in consumer retail. Moving beyond a linear economy to a more circular one will be important to limiting global temperature rises in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement.
This report outlines the contribution that a circular economy can make in dramatically reducing global emissions by mid-century. It also highlights the opportunities to apply circular economy activities in four critical sectors of the economy that are significant contributors to global greenhouse gases; steel, cement, plastics and aluminium.