You are here: Home Knowledge Base Re-assessing Waste Management and the Circular Economy Virtual Library Growth Within: A Circular Economy Vision for a Competitive Europe
Symposium 2015

Virtual Library File - Growth Within: A Circular Economy Vision for a Competitive Europe

The Challenge

Environmental degradation and resource depletion threaten the sustainability of economic growth in the developed world, and build enormous pressures in the developing world as it strives to match th ...

Environmental degradation and resource depletion threaten the sustainability of economic growth in the developed world, and build enormous pressures in the developing world as it strives to match the West’s prodigal lifestyle. Both issues can be addressed by the Circular Economy (CE): if we stop generating waste, and re-use and recycle resources, we avoid environmental degradation and stave off resource depletion. But, the financial realities of (mostly) capitalist societies make so many recycling initiatives unattractive.

Europe’s current linear growth model is highly dependent on finite resources, exposing it to resource volatility, limited gains in productivity, and huge loss of value through waste.

This report by McKinsey&Company suggests that adopting circular-economy principles, enabled by the technology revolution, would allow Europe to grow resource productivity by up to three percent annually, and generate a primary-resource benefit for Europe’s economies of as much as €0.6 trillion per year by 2030. Part of the success would be attributable to continuous improvements in resource productivity - a trend that has started to reduce Europe’s resource exposure.