A Circular Economy Isn’t Just Planet-friendly. It’s Huge Market Opportunity
Updated: Feb 18, 2021
In the circular economy, waste is designed out, products are looped back into the production system at end of use & materials are used productively for as long as possible.
Photo: Simrin Sirur | ThePrint
As we begin 2021, businesses face a complex matrix of challenges – from rising geo-economic tensions to the urgency of the climate crisis. With less than 10 years to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Decade to Deliver is underway, and leaders must act for impact now.
The Moment for Change is Now
Transitioning to a holistic circular economic model is critical to reducing environmental degradation and prioritizing biodiversity and nature, while also delivering on future competitiveness. In a circular economy, waste is designed out, and products are instead looped back into the production system at end of use. Consequently, growth is decoupled from the consumption of scarce resources, and materials are kept within productive use for as long as possible.
“The circular economy presents a unique market opportunity upwards of $4.5 trillion by 2030.”
Accelerating this transition relies on the uptake of innovative new business models and disruptive technological innovation. Alongside prioritization of new business models, which now account for roughly 30% of M&A investment according to Accenture analysis, adopting new digital, physical and biological technologies can drive new opportunities and deliver on organizations’ triple bottom line.
Forging a path to a truly circular economy requires collaboration across the ecosystem. Today, multinational organizations with increasingly complex supply chains and processes can struggle to maintain a pulse on ever-advancing circular innovation, while at times can also lack the capabilities required to embrace new modes of operation in the transition to circular business. By contrast, entrepreneurs have the disruptive solutions to solve these challenges, but may lack the capital, resources or enabling networks to replicate and scale their solutions at pace.
Scaling circular innovation
How can we solve this mismatch across the ecosystem? Through successfully connecting multinational actors with disruptive players, stakeholders across the value chain are empowered to fully embrace innovation, to prioritize targeted business models for impact, and respond effectively to new global challenges. The Circulars Accelerator – evolved from the highly successful Circulars Awards program – is led by Accenture in partnership with Anglo American, Ecolab and Schneider Electric and hosted digitally on the World Economic Forum’s platform for SDG innovation, UpLink.
The program will connect leading global organizations prioritizing circular innovation with disruptors seeking to scale circular solutions. Through a mutually beneficial program of mentorship, collaborative innovation and strategic alliances, the Accelerator’s mission is to expedite the global circular transition, creating value and impact for early- to growth-stage innovators and established partners alike, while strengthening the circular ecosystem through action-focused partnership.