In a major study for the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in 2015, McKinsey demonstrated that a circular economy approach could boost Europe’s resource productivity by 3 % by 2030, generating cost savings of €600 billion a year and €1.8 trillion more in other economic benefits.
Closer to home, research by Sapere on behalf of the Sustainable Business Network (SBN) found that;
“Auckland could liberate up to $8.8 billion in additional economic activity and reduce carbon emissions by 2,700 ktCO2e in 2030 by shifting from the current linear take, make and waste model to a circular economy.”
Life Cycle Thinking (LCT) and Circular Economy (CE) are complementary concepts that can help shape a more sustainable world. CE provides a strategic framework for closed-loop material flows and a gateway to LCT, whilst Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) complements CE by assessing environmental impacts, thus providing evidence critical for effective decision-making.
Interest from government and industry to transition Aotearoa New Zealand from a linear ‘take-make-dispose economy’ to a CE and improve our overall performance as a sustainable society has increased significantly in recent years.
The New Zealand life cycle community has a key role to play in this transformation, to ensure that the best decisions are made system-wide. It is crucial that environmental impacts and burdens are not simply shifted but rather any potential trade-offs are identified. We need to help promote the importance of using LCA and LCT in decision-making, system design, and transition work towards a Circular Economy to realise reduced impacts across the economy and society.
Read LCANZ’s white paper: LCA, LCT and transitioning to a Circular Economy.