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Circular Economy DRAFT

Probably some strapline here

Probably some strapline here

A new way of approaching consumption

The traditional ‘take, make, waste’ model of consumption that has guided economic thinking and development for much of our history is no longer sustainable. 90% of biodiversity loss, and 50% of carbon emissions are linked to resource extraction and production.

If the world is to meet its climate change targets, then adopting a new approach will be crucial. We believe that successfully implementing a ‘circular economy’ approach could provide an alternative.

What is the circular economy?

The circular economy is to the ‘demand side’ what the energy transition to cleaner and more efficient energy on the ‘supply side’. Adopting a circular business model means moving away from a linear model of consumption (take, make, waste). It requires the re-use of assets to eliminate waste, extending materials’ life span and therefore placing less pressure on scarce resources – all underpinned by a move towards renewable energy sources. There are three key principles:

  1. Design out waste and pollution wherever possible

  2. Keep products and materials in use for as long as possible

  3. Regenerate natural systems

Explaining the Circular Economy and How Society Can Re-think Progress by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation

How do we move towards a circular economy within the built environment?

In our report ‘Circular Economy and the Built Environment’, we made a number of recommendations for the sector including:

  • Develop a circular economy vision and circular economy business models – design frameworks and principles, together with a vision and roadmap for the industry are required. Alongside this, new business models and services such as materials materials passports, BIM and GIS passports

  • Collaborate – bringing together the industry and clients to help identify joint challenges and complimentary expertise, as well as quantify and communicate benefits that can be achieved both for society at large and for direct savings within individual projects

  • Educate and raise awareness – familiarise staff, clients and partners with the circular economy

  • Develop case studies – develop and share research that challenges the industry to apply circular economy principles, alongside showing how digital technology will make this approach easier to implement

  • Innovate – encourage internal and industry wide innovation through competition and demonstration, as well as implementing pilots and investing in advanced digital capabilities

How are the opportunities best realised?

The greatest opportunities for the circular economy come when principles are applied as part of a business’ strategic decision making – not just as part of a sustainable design strategy.

At Arup, our expertise stretches across the value chain from policy, finance and design to procurement, operations and logistics. We are able to identify lost value under business as usual operations in relation to indicators such as performance, whole life costs, revenue generation potential, resource flows and utilisation rates – to help inform strategic proposals.

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