The circularity GAP report
The circularity GAP report
Five years of Circularity Gap Reports have revealed how linear the world is—we only cycle 8.6% of what we use, which leaves a massive Circularity Gap of over 90%. And in only two years, global circularity wilted from 9.1% in 2018 to 8.6% in 2020. As a result, the wrong kinds of records are getting broken and set. In 2019, for instance, as well as the world having warmed 1.1-degrees since the pre-industrial era, society also breached boundaries for extraction, consuming 100 billion tonnes of resources. Our analysis connected this resource use to key societal needs and wants—how we eat, move and live—so that we could quantitatively track trends in usage and waste. This allows us to develop people-centred, resource-smart and climate-safe roadmaps for change. Finally, the tectonic plates of international climate action are visibly shifting—although slowly. It is already 50 years since the landmark Club of Rome report warned of the dangers of natural resource-use and endless economic growth; ten years since the circular economy moved from the fringes to the mainstream—yet remaining far from being the norm—and five years since the first Circularity Ga Report gave us a trackable figure for global circularity. Time is not on our side, but momentum is with us. Hot on the heels of COP26, both business and public interest in climate action is high, despite the world still experiencing the compound effects of a pandemic. There is also a valuable storehouse of transferable knowledge out there, backed up by examples of inspiring best practices. So, to achieve the transformation needed, progress both needs to accelerate and scale. We need regenerative and ethical behaviour to become the norm, over extractive and exploitative practices. The world may feel like it’s on fire, but here’s the solution: enacted globally, a circular economy can help to close the Emissions Gap. This Circularity Gap Report 2022 will demonstrate—based on five years of analysis and learnings—how the circular economy is a means to cut resource-use and emissions and boost equitable societies. With our roadmap of 21 circular solutions, businesses, cities and nations can reduce resource extraction and use by 28%, therefore cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 39% and getting the world on a 1.5-degree pathway. Tailoring the roadmap to different localities and sectors can guide all key actors in the course corrections we so desperately need. Whilst our roadmap is a powerful addition to the clean-energy transition already underway, we won’t achieve the scale of change needed unless we also drop business as usual behaviours and overcome linear thinking. In this iteration of the Report, we investigate these obstacles, plus showcase real-world examples of circular activity. Let’s work together to close the Circularity Gap, fast and for everyone. It is time for collective action to reset our economy and begin to erase social inequalities. In some places, this is already happening, but it must become the norm, everywhere. So, as promises of environmental action flow in from countries around the world post-COP and attention turns to updating national climate pledges for COP27, circularity must be heavily featured. It carries the solutions countries and businesses need to meet their climate goals, safeguard the Earth’s resources and protect all people. It’s time for a circular economy.