The built environment needs to move away from the take-make-waste economy. For a sustainable future, a regenerative, circular economy that rewards the reuse of finite materials and resources must take its place.
What is the Circular Economy?
At its simplest, the circular economy prioritises the reuse of materials, preventing the over extraction of natural resources and the number of usable materials that end up in landfill. More widely, it’s an economic model that builds overall system health by gradually decoupling economic activity from the consumption of finite resources. Its visionary principles consider a different way of doing business, placing more importance on regenerating nature, carbon reduction and sustainable resource management than our current system. In practice, it can look as small as a refill hub for groceries in a commercial development, or be more significant like retaining a building’s structure and utilising second hand steel.
Circular Economy Principles
Maximise reuse (including refurbish and repurpose)
Design buildings for optimisation
Products as a service
Minimise impact and waste
How can we enable a Circular Economy?
On an asset or business level the principles empower us to make the decisions that promote a circular economy. However, we need systems change so that all of industry can embrace circularity. As part of our Advancing Net Zero programme, our 2023 report System Enablers for a Circular Economy, identified eight enablers we can harness to create this shift.
- Collaboration & early engagement
- Second-hand materials market
- Design for disassembly/ design principles
- Green contracts and leases
- Tax & legislation
- Green financing
- Metrics, benchmarks, and indicators