Circular economy would bring economic and societal benefits in Europe

BEUC NEWS - 26.06.2015

This is the conclusion of a major new study1, launched June 25, at the European Commission’s stakeholder conference on the circular economy. 

A ‘circular economy’ is an alternative to our current ‘take, make, dispose’ model which relies on large quantities of finite resources and energy. Instead, in the circular economy model, resources are sustained for as long as possible and durable goods designed to be repaired rather than replaced at the end of each service life.

This report, the fourth in a series, proposes an overview of how the circular economy could look for the three most resource-intensive issues in Europe: food, transport and housing. These amount to approximately 60% of household costs.

The study suggests that by embracing a circular economy model, Europe could generate a net benefit of €1.8 trillion by 2030 compared with €0.9 trillion in existing markets. Societal advances such as a €3,000 average disposable income rise for EU households, a decrease of 16% of time lost to congestion as well as halving CO2 emission from current levels are also possible. 

Though the report acknowledges the benefits of our current linear path, it finds the overall gains would be much greater with a circular economy.

The release of the study is timely as the European Commission is forming its circular economy strategy and consulting stakeholders in order to propose a circular economy package by end of year. It is a subject which BEUC is following closely in the context of our flagship campaign on durable goods and better legal guarantees

For more examples of quantified economic and societal benefits of a transition to the circular economy model, you can download the study by clicking here


The study was undertaken by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the McKinsey Center for Business and Environment, and SUN (Stiftungsfonds für Umweltökonomie und Nachhaltigkeit).