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The Next Economy
New Study Asserts Need for Global, Standardized Definition of Circular Economy; MacArthur Provides One

According to Communicating the Circle: Are circular economy communication strategies starting to connect? — a white paper published by Go Circular — a majority of circular economy professionals (61 percent) believe corporate circular economy communication strategies would benefit from such a definition.

A common critique of the circular economy is that the terminology surrounding it is too complex. Almost half of those surveyed in the study (49 percent) described circular economy messaging as ‘confusing’, while almost one-third felt the language to be ‘repetitious’ (30 percent) and ‘inaccessible’ (27 percent).

The white paper points out that an agreed definition of circularity would not only help harmonize some of the terminology associated with the circular economy, but refine the concept in terms of its priorities and aims.

While the research found that such strategies should be comprised of several different elements, nearly half of respondents (46 percent) stated the main objective of any communication strategy should be to demonstrate how the circular economy works in practice. This was supported by further findings showing that 94 percent of respondents felt it ‘important’ to include real-life examples when communicating on the circular economy.

Speaking to Sustainable Brands on Wednesday, Dame Ellen MacArthur offered her distillation of the fundamentals of the circular economy: "A circular economy is an economy whereby you keep products’ components and materials within them at their highest value and utility at all times," she said. "And you can carry on saying, through designing out waste, through building more renewables into the mix of energy, eliminating toxicity … everything from remanufacturing an engine to being able to resell an iPhone, valorizing a building to its highest extent ... or food waste — it’s also a material — so how would you keep that at its highest value at all times? It’s a complex, systemic change."

See? Simple, really.


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