Balancing the economic, natural and social costs of a product or service are essential for building a better world. Circular Economy and Responsible Consumerism both aim to create a system that is ‘restorative’ and ‘regenerative’ by design.
The ‘Circular Economy’ is a concept that highlights that all services and products have an economic, natural and social cost. Circular economy services and products focus on reducing waste at all stage of production, use and disposal, whilst also minimising other environmental impacts. The need for a circular economy and responsible consumerism is accelerating – globally, more plastic has been produced in the last 10 years than in all of the 20th century and 50% of plastic products are used only once. Education will also be critical to shifting values into action. Europe only recycles 30% of its waste and in the US, it is just 9%.
Responsible consumerism focuses on the lifestyle changes needed by consumers everyday to ‘live within our means’ and protect the planet for the future. It also involves the structural changes to infrastructure and industries in rethinking the products they produce and their production methods, in order to meet the changing demands of consumers. For example, rethinking the ‘fast fashion’ industry, single-use plastics, the amount of meat or imported food consumed.
Positive change is already happening with innovation and consumer education, greater stakeholder advocacy driving increased transparency and responsibility in all stages of the supply chain.
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