Circularity Gap Report 2023 : “We Live in the Overshoot Era”

Circularity Gap Report 2023

Lead image courtesy of Circle Economy.

To date only 7,2% of the global economy is circular and this figure is decreasing over time, in 2018 it was 9,1% and in 2020 8,6%.
The Circularity Gap Report 2023, published by Circle Economy, a non-profit organization based in Amsterdam, highlights a disappointing reality – only 7.2% of the global economy is circular. This figure has been decreasing over time, from 9.1% in 2018 to 8.6% in 2020. This is concerning as 100 billion tonnes of materials are consumed annually, with a forecast suggesting that by 2050, the extraction and use of material resources will double the 2015 levels. Sadly, only 7.2% of these materials are fed back into the global economy at the end of their useful life.


The Circularity Gap Report 2023 

A recent report by Circle Economy, in partnership with Deloitte, suggests that global warming can be limited to 2 degrees and human activities can be brought back within safe planetary boundaries by adopting circular solutions like reusing, repairing, and recycling items, which would decrease global material usage.
Circularity Gap Report 2023 : “We Live in the Overshoot Era”
Image : Circle Economy
The report also identifies the key sectors that contribute to the majority of global emissions and waste: construction, food systems, mobility and transport, and consumer products. Construction alone is responsible for about 40% of global greenhouse gas emissions. The food system, including agriculture, is responsible for one-third of global GHG emissions, with 8-10% related to lost and wasted food production, and 70% of global withdrawals of accessible fresh water. Mobility and transport contribute to climate change and ocean acidification, accounting for around 25% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Industrial and consumer goods are responsible for one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions, which can be attributed to the scale of production and consumption, as well as the production processes themselves.
The Circularity Gap Report 2023 proposes that the application of a circular economy model could save 21 billion tonnes of virgin raw materials. However, to achieve this, it is crucial to establish a market for recycled materials and adopt a new consumption model inspired by four key principles: use less, use more, use again, and use circular materials free of hazardous substances.
The report also stresses the need for a circular economy that supports the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, a shift from a linear economic model to a more circular one that prioritizes reusing, repairing, and recycling items to minimize material waste. The report concludes that the adoption of a circular economy could provide significant environmental and economic benefits, such as reducing emissions, preserving natural resources, and promoting economic growth.