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Towards mass adoption

For the circular economy to reach critical mass, we must all work towards shared goals, using shared language, based on shared metrics. 

As the concept calls for the overhaul of complex supply chains that have largely remained unchecked since the industrial revolution, any progress we make also needs to be anchored in openness and collaboration.

We are developing the tools, frameworks, and metrics to enable just that.

Open-sourcing the circular economy

THE ISSUE
THE RESPONSE
OUR ROLE
THE ISSUE

People around the world are striving to participate in the transition to a circular economy, but they often face the same challenge: limited access to expertise, structured information, and knowledge about the circular economy, as well as how to measure and implement circular strategies.

THE RESPONSE

Circle Lab is an online platform for cities, businesses, and citizens to explore, brainstorm, and implement circular business models and strategies that launched in 2018. By digitising knowledge, opening up access, and encouraging co-creation, the platform aims to break down information silos and fuel cross-industry collaboration and innovation.

OUR ROLE

With the support of the eBay Foundation, we led the design and development of the platform. We worked with knowledge partners to collect case studies and resources around the topic, and ran open innovation challenges for businesses and cities such as DHL and Circular Glasgow.

an open-source, online circular economy

KNOWLEDGE HUB

with over 1,600 resources and case studies on the subject

A COLLABORATIVE

online platform
where organisations, cities, and individuals interested in the co-creation of circular solutions can sponsor challenges and crowdsource ideas and insights from other interested parties.
a guided CIRCULARITY

ASSESSMENT TOOL

for businesses to understand the different operational and organisational aspects of the circular economy.  

AT A GLANCE

1,600+
case studies
And thousands more in the pipeline
1,500+
USERS
From over 60 different countries
500+
IDEAS
And hundreds of comments and
feedback given
6
Challenges
Sponsored by leading organisations
and cities

What’s next?

We are currently developing a number of additional tools to support cities and apparel brands in their transition to a circular economy, which will integrate into Circle Lab. Their development has been and is made possible with the support of various foundations and funding organisations, including MAVA and C&A Foundation.

If you can’t measure it, you can’t change it

A key challenge in incorporating circular principles into government policy and business strategy is the lack of a consistent framework for measurement. It is therefore crucial to be able to track changes over time and measure progress, put main trends into context, engage in uniform goal-setting, and guide future action in the most impactful way is crucial.

The world's first Global Circularity Metric, introduced in the Circularity Gap Report in 2018, provides a framework and fact base to measure and monitor progress in bridging the gap, year on year. The results? The world is only 9% circular.

In 2017 Circle Economy started on a mission to understand how circular our world currently is. To answer this question, we analysed our global resource metabolism to uncover how materials flow through and are used by the economy. We also brought together a global coalition of experts to discuss and continuously verify our ideas and methodology.

First global

BENCHMARK

The Global Circularity Metric shows the amount of cycled materials as part of the economy's total annual material inputs. It was first launched in 2018, during the World Economic Forum in Davos.
A Powerful

Consortium

The Circularity Gap Consortium consists of key industry leaders, academics and peers like Janiz Pototschnik, Anders Wijkman, Willi Haas, and Ken Webster. The consortium also includes representatives from organisations like World Wildlife Fund, World Economic Forum and the World Resource Institute. Together, these organisations and individuals have provided invaluable input and support in reviewing the metrics and methodologies presented in the report, ensuring the knowledge and language we are shaping is adopted and endorsed by thought leaders across the globe. 
Worldwide

endorsements

The first two editions of the Gap report have received endorsements from leading representatives from governments, cities, think tanks and businesses and attracted over 22.5K unique website visitors. Both launched in Davos, they have also received the attention of world leaders like Sigrid Kaag, Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Frans van Houten, CEO Philips, and Jyrki Katainen, Vice-President European Commission.

STEERING

THE CONVERSATION
Countries are starting to adapt the methodology and are requesting a
circularity metric for their states:
And the media and academia are both taking notice:
Over 170 press mentions since 2018, including The Guardian, Fobers,
La Tribune, The Economist, BBC world and the Dutch 8 'o'clock news
46 academic references to date
And we travelled Europe with the Denim Democracy Exhibition

What’s next?

We are working on the 2020 edition of the report, which will take a closer look at several individual countries. We are also working on another country's Circularity Gap Report, to be announced soon. Both are expected to be published in early 2020.

Practical frameworks

Many definitions of the circular economy exist. They widely vary, depending on the context they apply to. This makes it difficult for organisations to truly understand the concept and apply its tools and strategies.

Shared frameworks that boil down the complexity of the circular economy are crucial to onboard people. They also help them uncover actionable strategies they can pursue, and lead to more effective collaboration.  

We research and build on the work of academics and practitioners alike to develop exactly these frameworks. We share them through our tools and communication channels.

A practical strategy guide for businesses…

The 7 key elements framework provides a high-level overview of circular principles businesses can incorporate into their operational models (e.g. “preserve and extend what’s already made”), and breaks them down into groups and sub-groups of practical and specific strategies that businesses can adopt (e.g. “providing DIY repair kits or spare part programmes for enabling self-repair”).

A practical strategy guide for businesses…

The policy instruments framework provides a similar overview of the different types of policy instruments available to local, regional, and national policy makers to encourage circularity. From regulatory and legislative instruments to economic and softer policy instruments, the framework further breaks them down into specific actions policy makers can take, such as running information campaigns or establishing matchmaking platforms. Examples of existing cases of policy in action to support circularity are listed on the Knowledge Hub.