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Circular Economy: A Solution to the Covid-19 Crisis?

Published 03-15-21

Submitted by Acre

Acre Report imag, birds eye view of maze garden

Originally published by Acre

When the Covid-19 crisis started to unfold in early spring last year, little did we know about what we could expect. The coronavirus quickly spread around the world and pressured global leaders into taking preventive measures to contain the virus that had the potential to severely affect human health. Those measures showed some initial signs of positive change in terms of carbon production and biodiversity.​

After the initial excitement about reduced air-travel, clear water in the canals of Venice and blue skies in urban areas, most people are now looking for long-term solutions, even more so since the world is returning to its pre-Covid-19 (bad) habits. Although European countries have started their vaccination programs, supporting the most vulnerable members of our society, we still seem to be far away from a Covid-19 free world. In this issue of the Acre’s Rising Sun series, we will dive deeper into the concept of circularity and why we feel it could be a long-term solution to the pandemic, economic crises, the climate crisis and the dramatic changes in biodiversity that are about to follow.​

Having explored the potential that the circular economy offers, we may ask ourselves “how we can make the concept more tangible and implementable?”

To guide you through this, we asked three experts from the field to share some of their experiences. The expert interviews offer perspectives from a cities and a business approach to circularity. Each expert was carefully selected based on their knowledge. With the help of our interviewees, we explore:

  • How can businesses embrace circularity during a crisis? With Robbert Slooten, Signify
  • How can cities become more circular as they emerge from the crisis? With Max Russell, Circle Economy
  • A circular economy framework for business; where to start? With Dr. Christina Raab, Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute

We dive deep into the concept of circularity as a solution to the pandemic, economic and climate crisis, discussing:​​​​

  • Covid-19 and environmental issues
    • Besides severely impacting economies, jobs and stock markets around the world, what impact has the pandemic had on current environmental issues like climate change and pollution?
  • The rebound effect
    • Whilst initial pollution reductions might appear as a win in the fight against climate change, how temporary are those reductions, and what will the impact be of 'the rebound effect'?
  • How the circular economy comes into play
    • The brittleness in our global supply chains revealed by the pandemic emphasise the need for businesses to transition towards a more circular supply chain. But what exactly does this entail?
  • The Circular Economy as a problem solver
    • How could the circular economy be a solution to many economic and climate related issues caused by the pandemic, for both businesses and cities? Our panel of experts give their perspective.

Download the full whitepaper here

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Acre connects forward thinking organisations with purpose driven professionals. We work with functions which focus on resolving systemic challenges that impact society and the environment at a global level. These functions include; Sustainability and CSR, Corporate Affairs, ESG and Sustainable Finance, EHS as well as Energy and Clean Technology.


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