Experts call for circular economy to boost Covid-19 recovery
A coalition of global environment experts has today (4 June) called on governments worldwide to back the transition to a real circular economy as a key part of Covid-19 economy recovery plans.
In the wake of the global economic downturn caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has disrupted international supply chains and seen governments implement lockdown measures to try and contain the spread of the virus, 30 global experts have signed an open letter urging world leaders to forego short-term economic stimulus packages and take the opportunity to transition to a circular economy.
Coordinated by the Real Circularity Coalition, which campaigns for a real circular economy, the letter calls for a transition to a circular economy where materials and resources are kept in use for as long as possible, with resources only being used if they are 100 per cent recyclable or reusable, as the ‘best route to a better future’.
With former UK chancellors warning of a return to ‘1980s levels of unemployment’ giving evidence to the UK Parliament’s Treasury Committee yesterday (3 June), the letter cites a report by the European Commision that estimates that implementing a circular economy could create 700,000 new jobs across the EU by 2030.
Indeed, the European Commission has already placed the circular economy at the heart of its Recovery Plan for Europe, increasing resilience by reducing dependency on external suppliers of raw materials and committing €15 billion of investment each year to support the transition to a circular economy.
The letter has been signed by a host of global campaigners including Julie Andersen, Global CEO of Plastic Oceans International, George Monbiot, journalist and environmental activist, and Hugo Tagholm, Chief Executive of Surfers Against Sewage.
Politicians from across Europe have joined the calls, including Alviina Alametsä MEP, Caroline Lucas MP, Barry Gardiner MP, Claudia Beamish MSP and Baroness Bakewell of Hardington.
A raft of international experts including Professor Jeremy Faludi, Delft University of Technology, Professor Raimund Bleischwitz, University College London, and Professor Peter North, University of Liverpool have signed the letter.
The letter in full
“The coronavirus crisis has prompted the biggest state intervention in the market in history. Around the world governments have earmarked more than $8 trillion in a bid to keep the global economy moving.
“The spread of the pandemic has shown the strength of investing in companies putting people and planet first. Green stocks have outperformed others by almost eight percent since the start of the crisis.
“As world leaders look to the economic recovery, short-term carbon-intensive solutions are not the answer. Instead creating an economy where resources are only used if they are 100 percent recyclable or reusable represents our best route to a better future.
“Indeed the European Commission estimates investing in a circular economy could create some 700,000 jobs by 2030 in Europe alone, invigorating sectors that will deliver long-term prosperity without trashing our natural world.
“A real circular economy could once and for all realise the vision of a world free from the connected problems of runaway climate change and the global waste crisis.
“Now more than ever before the future belongs to companies that work with nature, not against it. The economic response to the crisis must be executed in line with our global sustainability goals and put green stimulus measures front and centre.”
Lucy Siegle, Chair of the Real Circularity Coalition
George Monbiot, Author and Environmental Activist
Alviina Alametsä MEP, Member of the European Parliament, Finland
Ernest Urtasun MEP, Member of the European Parliament, Spain
Prof. Jeremy Faludi, Department of Design Engineering, Delft University of Technology, Netherlands
Prof. James Elliott, Materials Science & Metallurgy, University of Cambridge
Prof. Dr. Raimund Bleischwitz, Director, The Bartlett School of Environment Energy & Resource
Dr Nick Taylor Buck, Faculty of Science Research Manager, University of Sheffield
Bella Lack, Ambassador, Born Free Foundation
Julie Anderson, Global CEO, Plastics Oceans International, USA
Hugo Tagholm, Chief Executive, Surfers Against Sewage
Sally Uren, Chief Executive, Forum for the Future
Dr Becky Gates, Founding Director and Trustee, Fidra
Caroline Lucas MP, Green Member of Parliament for Brighton Pavilion
Barry Gardiner MP, Labour Member of Parliament for Brent North
Ben Lake MP, Plaid Cymru Member of Parliament for Ceredigion
Claire Hanna MP, Social Democrat and Labour Member of Parliament for South Belfast
Claudia Beamish MSP, Scottish Labour Member of Parliament for South Scotland
Prof. Peter North, Professor of Alternative Economies, University of Liverpool
Dr. Patrick Pomeroy, Senior Research Scientist, School of Biology, University of St Andrews
Ray Georgeson MBE, Director, Ray Georgeson Resources
Prod. Rupert Ormond, Centre for Marine Biodiversity & Biotechnology, Heriot-Watt University,
Dr. Oliver Bragg, Geography and Environmental Science, School of Social Sciences, University of Dundee
Neil Garrick-Maidment FBNA, Founder, The Seahorse Trust
Baroness Bakewell of Hardington, Liberal Democrat Peer
Baroness Lister of Burtersett, Labour Peer
Baroness Walmsley, Liberal Democrat Peer
Lord Grantchester, Labour Peer
The Rt. Hon. the Lord Naseby PC, Conservative Peer