From the website of the European Commission we learn that no less than 1,000,000,000.00 (one trillion) euros will be invested in the new development strategy in the countries of the European Union.
Climate change and environmental degradation are a huge threat to Europe and the world. To overcome these challenges, Europe needs a new growth strategy that will transform the Union into a modern, resource-efficient and competitive economy in which
The European Green Deal is our roadmap for making the EU economy sustainable. We will achieve this by turning climate and environmental challenges into opportunities across all policy areas and by making the transition fair and inclusive for all.
The European Green Deal includes an action plan to:
The plan outlines the necessary investments and available financing instruments and explains how to ensure a fair and inclusive transition.
The EU aims to achieve climate neutrality in 2050. We have proposed a European climate law to turn this political commitment into a legal obligation.
Achieving this goal will require action from all sectors of our economy, including:
The year 2020 has thrown the world into a chaos that had long been predicted but hardly prepared for. Covid-19 kept a magnifying glass on the flaws of the global economy - flaws that had long been clear, but which the company kept pressing the "silence" button.
For the first time ever, the amount of material consumed by our global economy also exceeded 100 billion tonnes, of which only 8.6% was recycled in the economy - a sobering indicator of the progress we still have to make.
But if we have learned anything from 2020 so far, it is to "never let a crisis go to waste". The pandemic has created a space on the global stage for the concept of 'building back better'. This is an opportunity we must not miss.
We must therefore act decisively to accelerate the transition to a circular economy and to ensure a socially just and ecologically safe space for all. Below are some reflections on how circularity and resilience have become intimately linked to our activities and the wider ecosystem of actors we work with. We also look at the road ahead and what a system fit for an inclusive and resilient 21st century world might look like.
Rarely have the flaws of our global economy come together so prominently as under our collective covid-19 experience. Interdependent global supply chains, material extraction occurring at a faster rate than remanufacturing, and an economic model focused on profit-making and infinite growth at the expense of stability and resilience have been the hallmark of the take-waste tradition. The pandemic only served to pull back the curtain on these defects.
Covid-19 also had a disproportionate impact on low- and middle-income countries and on minority groups within higher-income countries. These impacts included increased rates of infection, deaths and job losses, highlighting deep-seated inequalities in access to basic services such as clean water, health care, safe working conditions and social safety nets. The alarm has been raised once again to address systemic inequalities, and it seems that the world is finally listening that there is no environmental justice without social justice.
Now, the scale of the response must match that of the emergency. By designing out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use and regenerating natural systems, a circular economy allows us to collectively re-imagine and redesign our systems to ensure an ecologically safe and socially just space for all of us. A world in which functioning social systems fall within healthy planetary boundaries. The circular economy now also has the opportunity and duty to further embed equality and resilience into this model.
Even before the pandemic, city officials and urban change managers have long been early adopters of the circular economy. It offers a direction in re-imagining cities that are resilient to future shocks and strive for equality and full access. Now, mayors and leaders of the world's largest cities warn that there can be no return to business as usual when economies begin to rebuild.
But to translate the promise of the circular economy into practical and scalable action, they need guidance. Which strategies should be implemented and encouraged, in which sectors, together with which departments and why?
The city of Amsterdam has once again proven to be a leading circular city. The Amsterdam Circular Strategy 2020-2025 reinforces the city's plan to become fully circular by 2050. Integral to the plan is Doughnut Economics, a model developed by Oxford economist Kate Raworth, and scaled up to meet the city's needs by various organisations. In this model it is clear that the circular economy is based on a healthy dynamic between social and ecological issues.
The pandemic exposed the fragility inherent in many businesses and forced many to prioritise managing the immediate consequences of covid-19. But we have also seen a renewed focus on the importance of risk mitigation and resilience building across businesses of all sizes.
A circular business model is integral to adapting business to be fit for purpose in the 21st century. It is necessary to stimulate and support companies in building their capacity to embrace the changes needed to move from a linear to a circular business model.
There can be no global, circular transition without the commitment of countries: they have a mandate to develop national and international legislation and create an enabling environment for the transition. As leading investors in infrastructure, government buildings and assets, their procurement strategy can also kick-start circularity on a large scale. Now, the circular economy is increasingly at the forefront of sustainability strategies for countries around the world.
The Netherlands has initiated circularity in key sectors such as construction and agriculture, for example, and a transformation is needed if the country is to reach its ambitious target of 100% circularity by 2050.
The pandemic revealed the fragility and vulnerability of the current labour market, which revolves around maximising efficiency and minimising financial costs. It has also highlighted key questions about how we value, think about and tax work today, including roles we consider vital to society.
The Circular Jobs Initiative (CJI) was launched in March this year by the Circle Economy to ensure the creation of a circular labour market that allows both workers and the planet to thrive.
Because the circular economy relies on more labour-intensive processes than the linear economy - where resources are often wasted or incinerated rather than repaired and reused - the transition is expected to be labour-intensive at first. This is an opportunity to promote decent and equal work and to create new and more diverse skill sets and job roles.
FINDING A COMMON LANGUAGE
The circular economy has seen a significant increase in interest in recent years and continues to gain momentum.
With this surge in popularity, many people mention the term 'circular economy' or 'circular principles' without really explaining what they mean. On the other hand, if the term is defined, the definition varies widely depending on the problems addressed, the audience, or the lens through which the author sees the world.
To define a common language for the circular economy, Circle Economy mapped the various terms and definitions used by more than 20 organisations - NGOs, government agencies, universities, consultancies, etc. - working on elements of the topic. - working on elements of the topic. After interpreting and grouping these various terms, seven key elements emerged that defined most of the terms related to the circular economy.
With the POWERgrass technology and method now available that allows us to accurately manage all phases of a green area, there is no excuse for investors as to how the fields of the future should be built and maintained. We can all contribute to the development of a circular economy with a positive environmental impact by preserving soil erosion, sequestering carbon in the soil and without polluting.
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