So far, our economic model has been based on a linear one of manufacture, use and dispose. As environmental concerns rise and resources deplete there is greater urgency to shift towards a new model of consumption that can support the economy and help the planet.
Our current model points to humanity using 1.75 earths to sustain current demand for raw materials, yet 31 per cent of food is wasted, the average European car is parked 92 per cent of the time and offices are used 35 per cent of the time in working hours.
A circular economy promotes sustainable development by designing products, systems and processes that focus on recycling and reuse. With circularity, waste becomes raw materials for the production of goods. The World Economic Forum estimate that under the circular economy model, the more efficient use of resources along with the new jobs added to higher-skilled industries, could unlock USD4.5tn of global GDP by 2030.
This report by HSBC Global Research looks closely at the circular economy model, discusses the benefits of circularity in a world with resource constraints, and explores the progress with sustainable resource management at a national and company level.