How can digitalisation unlock the circular economy’s potential?

With the global population rapidly increasing, it’s become essential to review our current system to adapt to the growing demand for basic goods and decrease the waste that mass production generates.

The circular economy offers an alternative solution to our current model of ‘take-make-dispose’. It reduces waste and extraction of raw materials, as resources are continuously reused and repurposed to create new products.

At the same time, digitalisation is progressing rapidly. For the first time, we have the opportunity to scale up circular economy business models swiftly and widely to put us on course for a more sustainable future.

With sustainability becoming a key part of the global agenda, the circular economy is a crucial tool for decoupling economic growth from further unsustainable resource use and increased CO2 emissions. But why aren’t more businesses opting for circular business models?

We interviewed 14 EIT Climate-KIC start-ups and innovation projects to learn more about the benefits of adopting circularity, and to better understand the challenges that hinder its uptake.

The study identifies four key drivers in the digital circular space: Technology, market structure, policy and skills, and knowledge – evidenced by the real-world experience of our partners. Their insights reveal tremendous opportunities, but also expose the systemic barriers which need to be addressed before we can fully benefit from the potential of innovative circular business models.

 

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