Sustainability challenge and related SDGs:
Our current economy is predominantly linear: we take materials from the earth to make products and throw them away after they have done their usage for us. This approach of extraction, production and waste generation is responsible for a ten-fold increase in global greenhouse gas emissions between 1900 and 2020 and is expected to lead to a another two-fold increase until 2030.
It is based on the dangerously wrong assumption of infinite natural resources. Today we face the results of this fallacy: waste and pollution leading to enormous environmental impacts, resulting in the climate crisis and biodiversity loss.
The UN states that if the global population should grow to 9.6 billion by 2050 “[...] , the equivalent of almost three planets could be required to provide the natural resources needed to sustain current lifestyles.” Against the backdrop of the worsening scarcity of raw materials, growing mountains of waste and plastic litter in the oceans, a circular economy model is the only realistic solution.
Possible solutions and their contribution to achieving the SDGs
A #CircularEconomy approach is decoupling economic activities from the exploitation of finite resources. It aims to ‘close the loop’ of material flows with the approaches of sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling.
With this economic model, waste can be reduced to a minimum if not even completely eliminated. Nature has time to recover, and the economy could run within the limits of our planet.
The importance of the shift towards a #CircularEconomy can be seen in the fact that sustainable production and consumption have their own dedicated SDG 12. Companies labelled as #CircularEconomy apply resource-saving production processes by offering recycling services for wood, steel, aluminum or PET, or by processing such materials to create new products.
Primarily related SDG Targets: 12.2, 12.4, 12.5, 12.6, 12.7
Investment Rationale and Growth Potential
For our planet to remain liveable for our human society and thrive, we must transform to a global circular economy. This transformation is inevitable and yields new opportunities for businesses, reduces production costs in long-term and environmental risks for human survival and drives innovation.
Further, this transformation offers investors an interesting long-term opportunity to invest in forward-looking, future-oriented companies.