Climate change can’t wait and neither should businesses when it comes to the circular economy
Iain Gulland, chief executive of Zero Waste Scotland, outlines the synergies between the climate crisis and resource scarcity and how promoting the circular economy is a crucial step in tackling emissions.
With repeated warnings in the media about the threat of climate change, and evidence from around the world that the effects are already being felt, there is no question of the need for urgent action.
As consumers, many of us are already making small changes to lessen our environmental impact – adapting the way we work, shop, eat and travel. For many of you reading, it will be your remit to guide your employer and colleagues to adopt more sustainable practices, too.
At Zero Waste Scotland, we have made it our mission to raise awareness of how our consumption, as a society, contributes to the climate crisis – and how, by rethinking how we consume, we can all cut our carbon footprint down to size.
Businesses and organisations have a vital role to play in driving that shift, evolving from the traditional linear economic model – that sees us take resources, make new products, use them briefly, and then waste them – to a circular model, in which products and materials are valued and made to last.
The expectation on businesses to do so is growing. More and more consumers are demanding that brands offer them sustainable options, as well as operating within the limits of the environment themselves. Meanwhile companies are increasingly realising they need to act now to protect their operations against future climate shocks.
Evolving a more circular economy is the best tool we have to end our throwaway culture and mitigate the worst effects of climate change. And what’s more, it has benefits not just for the environment but for forward-thinking businesses too.
Moving to a more circular model can open up new avenues for business and help companies meet their ESG objectives. At scale, circular business models can also create new, skilled jobs which bring local benefit and improved resilience. Circularity also safeguards against future raw resource shortages and reduces the greenhouse gas emissions that are embedded into materials during their lifetime.
At Zero Waste Scotland we help businesses realise their circular economy ambitions through dedicated support administered on behalf of the Scottish Government. We will be highlighting some of those businesses pioneering innovative, alternative business models in the upcoming Circular Economy Inspiration Sessions.
They are among many organisations taking a decisive role in the fight against climate change, choosing to do things differently, helping customers make sustainable choices, and sending an important market signal to drive further circular economy innovation.
Now is the time for impactful action, and for businesses to step up and take the lead.
Circular Economy Inspiration Sessions
Cheryl Robb, Partnerships Manager, Zero Waste Scotland, is taking part in edie’s Circular Economy Inspiration Sessions.
Hosted during edie’s special Circular Economy Week of digital content and events (23-27 May), the Circular Economy Inspiration Sessions on Thursday 26 May offer up an afternoon of live, interactive webinar presentations and discussions – all dedicated to capturing the business opportunity of a resource-efficient, zero-waste economy.
How do zero-waste commitments interrelate with climate-related goals? What must happen at a policy level to accelerate the circular economy transition? How can closed-loop systems and products be scaled up at pace? Ultimately, what will it take for businesses to accelerate the circular economy?
This online event effectively combines three edie webinars into a single afternoon, with each webinar session taking a particular focus and format. The first session (one hour) will be a Q&A-style circularity debate; the second session (one hour) will be a series of quick-fire zero-waste case studies; and the third session (45 minutes) will take a ‘masterclass’ format.