CREATING A GLOBAL SUSTAINABLE ECONOMY
It’s a well-known fact that the rise in consumerism and disposable products is choking our planet and exhausting it at the same time.
Before we reach the day where there is more plastic in the sea than fish, something has to be done to ebb the flow.
…The solution is a circular economy, where nothing is wasted, rather it gets reused or transformed.
A circular economy is one where it is restorative or regenerative. Instead of buy, use, throw, the idea is that nothing, or little is ‘thrown’, rather it reused, or regenerated, thus reducing waste as well as the use of our resources.
According to the World Economic Forum, moving towards a circular economy is the key, and a ‘trillion-dollar opportunity, with huge potential for innovation, job creation and economic growth.
How do organisations go about taking steps in the right direction, towards economic frameworks that are restorative and regenerative?
While standards and initiatives abound for components of this, such as recycling, there is no current agreed global vision on how an organization can complete the circle.
A new ISO technical committee intends to address this. ISO/TC 323, Circular economy, is currently made up of experts from over 65 different countries and growing.
The committee intends to produce a set of internationally agreed principles, terminology, a framework of what a circular economy is, and develop a management system standard. It also will work on alternative business models and method for measuring and assessing circularity with the aim of ensuring implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The ISO / TC 323 standard is based on seven areas of action of the circular economy to create a working roadmap:
Extension of service life
Effective management of materials and products at the end of their life cycle.
Although some international standards related to the circular economy are already in place, the new TC will develop a holistic and international approach for circular economy projects by considering interactions between all the elements contributing to sustainable development. For example, public procurement, production and distribution, resource end of life, as well as areas such as behavioural change and assessment will be addressed.
The circular economy and sustainable development
A circular economy can contribute to the achievement of several SDGs including clean water and sanitation; affordable and clean energy; decent work and economic growth; industry, innovation and infrastructure; sustainable cities and communities; responsible consumption and production; and climate action.
In the context of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the UN SDGs, economies worldwide must transform existing linear ‘make, consume, throw’ systems to models that focus on waste reduction, recycling and, where possible, transformation of waste into new products.
The global circular economy will be a powerful player in the fight against climate change, with waste reduction and recycling having the potential to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from combustion (CO2)...