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Resource Productivity and the Circular Economy: The opportunities for the UK economy

May 2018 – This paper presents the findings of consultation with members of Business in the Community’s (BITC’s) Circular Economy Taskforce on opportunities for the UK to take a leading global role in resource productivity and to move towards a circular economy. It discusses the opportunities and challenges in accelerating the UK’s transition to a circular economy.

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Resource Productivity and the Circular Economy Opportunities for the UK EconomyAbout

The economy of the future must meet the needs of a growing population within the confines of diminishing critical resources, supply chains made vulnerable by climate change and political instability, tightening environmental regulation, and the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero.

Within this context, and as the UK exits the EU, delivering a resilient economy in the UK that creates new global leadership opportunities and works for everyone will require, among other things, a step change in innovation towards greater circularity and resource productivity. To achieve this requires strong collaboration between government and business – to ensure we have the policy framework, networks, skills and finance – and above all a commitment to try new ways of doing things.

The circular economy has caught the imagination of thought leaders across the world, and is taking shape as a viable, practical alternative to the current linear economic model. The economic case is compelling, and whilst offering opportunities to protect natural capital, increase the value and reuse of secondary materials, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

In the UK, many leading businesses are embarking on a circular economy approach and are seeing significant economic benefits in terms of direct cost savings, new market opportunities, improved market positioning and the ability to grow in a challenging environment.

BITC’s Circular Economy Taskforce members believe much can be done to accelerate this transition and ensure that the UK is in the driving seat of increasing productivity through new ways of working. The Taskforce has identified four areas where it would like to see collaboration and intervention:

  1. Collaboration to redesign products and services and build circular value chains
  2. Building strong networking and information sharing communities
  3. Creating bold and smart policy initiatives and innovating with fiscal incentives
  4. Educating leaders and investing in the skills needed for a circular economy


Find out more about how CISL is helping companies transition to a resource-efficient economy.  

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Adele Wiliams