Businesses, government and NGOs from across the capital and beyond are taking part in the second annual Circular Economy Week from 10 June 2019, to help drive a resource-efficient and sustainable economy.
The week, led by the London Waste and Recycling Board’s Circular London programme, will involve events, workshops, tours and a whole range of collaboration opportunities to explore more sustainable approaches to resource management, product design, manufacturing and retail.
Events listed so far include:
- A UK cities roundtable hosted by LWARB and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation;
- Events on sustainable packaging and plastics alternatives, hosted by Future Planet and UCL;
- A clothes ‘swap shop’ and film screening from sustainable fashion campaign #LoveNotLandfill;
- Business in the Community webinar on the circular office and how to make working spaces more sustainable;
- TechWest event on low carbon innovation and technology’s role in circular economy;
- A tour of Premier Sustain’s re-manufactured furniture facility, The Renew Centre; and
- A tour of circular businesses along the Circle Line, run by Circle Economy Club London.
The past year has seen a rapidly growing appetite for action on the circular economy, and this year’s events will build on the success of the first ever Circular Economy Week last year.
More than 85 companies have signed up to support the UK Plastics Pact in the past year, a collaboration bringing together businesses to help change the way we manage plastics. There is also growing global interest in the topic, with New York having recently hosted its own Circular City Week.
The transition to a circular economy could have hugely positive environmental impacts, with London potentially achieving a 60 percent reduction in its waste.
London is home to some of the most exciting developments in the circular economy, which is much more efficient than the traditional linear model in which we make, use and dispose of resources.
By 2036, the circular economy could provide London with net benefits of £7bn every year in the sectors of built environment, food, textiles, electricals and plastics, as well as creating 40,000 new jobs in re-use, remanufacturing and materials innovation.
Wayne Hubbard, chief executive at London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB), said: “Not only does the circular economy benefit the environment, it also offers real commercial advantages by allowing organisations to respond to consumer demand for more sustainable products and services.
"The circular economy can also create efficiencies as well as new revenue streams, markets and product lines – all increasingly important in this time of economic uncertainty.”
“London is a great global city, and one of the most vibrant business hubs in the world, so our Circular Economy Week is the perfect forum to collaborate, celebrate progress and share learning amongst organisations of all shapes and sizes. Cities are the engine room of the circular economy, and the capital is leading the way.”
With growing consumer demand for more sustainable products, Circular London is calling on businesses, public sector and other organisations to ensure they don’t get left behind. Nearly 90 percent of consumers strongly believe that society should be more resource-efficient and the UK’s market for ethical products and services grew by more than £40bn between 2008-2017.
Almost half of those aged under 24 have avoided a product or service in the last year due to its negative environmental impact.
Shirley Rodrigues, London’s Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy, said: “Our economy is currently geared towards using resources in a way that is inefficient and unsustainable.
"The Mayor wants to accelerate London’s transition to a low-carbon circular economy by planning for materials to be kept in use for as long as possible and promoting business models which support this.
"Circular Economy Week will help raise the profile of this important issue and encourage people across London to support the transition to a circular economy.”
Brendan Montague is editor of The Ecologist. This article is based on a press release from the London Waste and Recycling Board.