This month Chatham House published a paper titled “An Inclusive Circular Economy: Priorities for Developing Countries”, written by Felix Preston, Johanna Lehne and Laura Wellesley. The paper argues how the “Circular Economy” (CE) concept is rapidly becoming the new model for resilient growth. In a context where the incompatibility between our current trends in global resource extraction and the internationally agreed targets to limit the rise of global average temperature is undeniable, radical transformation is required if we are to meet the needs of future generations.

The paper notes the insufficient attention that has been paid to CE pathways in developing countries, alternative strategies ought to be developed particularly since their structural and political conditions differ so much. In addition, many developing countries are experiencing rapid pace of growth and industrial development, which implies they need different solutions, ones that are tailored to their circumstances.

The CE continues to be understood primarily as a waste management and recycling strategy, but the economic opportunities are far broader and more diverse. With the right enabling conditions, the CE could provide new opportunities for economic diversification, value creation and skills development.

Much of the interest in the CE centres on its potential to deliver simultaneously on four major political priorities: job creation, balance-of-payments support, supply chain resilience, and climate change mitigation and adaptation.

The paper argues for a coordinated approach that mainstreams the CE within existing sustainability initiatives, offering an opportunity to harness and amplify the communities of practice, resources and expertise already devoted to the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Trade at regional and international level will be an important enabler in scaling up domestic circular activities and industries, both in developing and developed countries.

For more information please access the paper through the following link.