Regional policy implications of the circular economy

As circular economy thinking takes hold among policy makers, civil servants and scientists, policy is tending towards circular as a strategy to reach environmental objectives.  Hopes are that  production systems will continue to deliver and indeed grow economically, but with far less material and fossil energy intensity. The Swedish Government formed its own Circular Economy Delegation last year and recently announced its national strategy for the Circular Economy  and 100 measures to transition to circularity.

Policy needs to align, but this raises questions. The economy is a complex adaptive system, and any intervention may cause the opposite of the intended effects. This article explores my own very personal reflections based on earlier work together with my recent work with the local university.  

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Not targets but U-turns: reflections on the IPCC report

Released today, the report, which summarises scientists’ understanding of what is happening with climate change, warns that Earth will unavoidably hit the critical threshold of 1.5°C warming due to climate change within the next 20 years. This is a combination of natural processes and human emissions. This is regardless of how radically global governments cut greenhouse gas emissions. This article urgently proposes a new framing approach: a pivot.

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Regional progress towards circular economy in Sweden

https://play.hig.se/media/t/0_b8yf9n1r

This interview, by Vojtech Vosecky from Circle-economy.com, looks at the results of a recent investigation by the University of Gävle into the status and training needs of regions in Sweden.

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2020: A year of tough realisations

For me, 2020 was the year I threw myself into the circular economy. Along the way I came up against a lot of really challenging things. Let’s look back on a year’s blogging together, with some sidetracks into things that I only just started to accept during the year.

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Indigenous leaders’ message about regenerative agriculture. We should listen

Regenerative Agriculture and Permaculture Offer Narrow Solutions to the Climate Crisis


Regenerative agriculture (Regen Ag) and permaculture claim to be the solutions to our ecological crises. While they both borrow practices from Indigenous cultures, critically, they leave out our worldviews and continue the pattern of erasing our history and contributions to the modern world.

While the practices ‘sustainable farming’ promote are important, they do not encompass the deep cultural and relational changes needed to realize our collective healing.

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Multi capital scoring: how to measure what matters in the circular economy

As circular economy thinking takes hold among policy makers, civil servants and scientists, policy is tending towards circular as a strategy to reach environmental objectives. Hopes are that production systems will continue to deliver and indeed grow economically, but with far less material and fossil energy intensity. This article explains why that might not be so easy and offers a way forward.

Circular economy thinking is taking hold among policy makers, civil servants and scientists alike. For example, the Swedish Government formed its own Circular Economy Delegation last year and recently announced its national strategy for the Circular Economy. Facing reduced material availability and rapidly reducing use of fossil fuels to align with the Paris accord, Sweden hopes that its production system will continue to deliver and indeed grow economically, but with far less material and fossil energy intensity. This article explores some of the theoretical and practical challenges of measuring what matters in order to help frame policy and effectively pursue  strategy.

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Circular economy comes free

This article attempts to answer the question of “what would it cost for a nation to transition to the circular economy?” with “actually not a lot”. To explain this rather startling position you’ll need to bear with me while I explain the importance of a firm’s infrastructure for investment, what a circular business model is, where circular infrastructure fits and then where the money will come from to make new infrastructure and finally – what it will cost in terms of investment.

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System description – where are the disconnects? #1

The COVID crisis is exposing many ways in which society isn’t working. We need to get to the root cause. What better way than to start by mapping the system as-is? My recent post system description gave a high-level description of the system we live in. We identified six entities and twenty-one flows. All but two of the entities are man-made, so if we can make something and it doesn’t work work well we can surely improve it? Once we have mapped the system we need to look for disconnects. Disconnects are where things don’t work as they should.

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Circular Economy manufacturing the Porena way

This article comes from the book “Inventing for the Sustainable Planet” a novel which asks the question “if you were to visit a city that was sustainable- what would it look like?” The novel about the city of Porena contains several far-reaching ideas including the idea of global design with local assembly. In this section we meet an article written by the book’s hero, Max Wahlter, after a visit to “the future” to investigate sustainable logistics and manufacturing.

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Pivot Projects seeks to inform post-covid strategy for net zero carbon

Understanding that as a species humans cannot go on as we were, 140 experts, academics and volunteers across the world are coming together to engage with policy agenda of the G20, COP26, EU and UK Government. The group will provide post-COVID19 stimulus policies that are socially fair; stimulate economic growth; and accelerate our transformation to a sustainable planet.

Worryingly, the outlook as we emerge from the restrictions is bleak. If we are to reach Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050 and have any hope of limiting the rise in global average temperatures to a level that will not cause a societal catastrophe, we have to achieve 15% of reduction in carbon emissions *every year*.

Stephen Hinton volunteered to work in the area of sustainable infrastructure. If you would like to join the project, please visit the Pivot Projects Website.