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Circular economy would boost GDP
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Independent research released from Imperial College London, commissioned by Veolia, has found that the UK could reap significant economic benefits if it fully embraced the circular economy.
The research found that a combination of ‘closing the loop’ on resource use and moving to a service rather than product-based economy has the potential to add 0.18% – equivalent to £2.9bn per annum – to UK Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per year, circa £29bn over 10 years.
The report, The circular revolution, also estimates that 175,000 jobs will be created by the circular economy, amounting to almost 10% of UK unemployment with particular opportunities for growth from plastics recycling.
‘The world is facing an enormous challenge. Expanding populations and a rise in living standards means demand for raw materials is growing, at the same time resources are rapidly depleting. Businesses need to wake up to the unsustainable nature of our throw-away economy and put more value on resources.
‘This report examines the economic benefit of this, highlighting how a transition to a circular economy has the potential to add 1.8% to our GDP over a 10 year period. The findings of the report have exceeded our expectations – even if we only achieved a 50% shift this would add £15bn to the country’s economic output.’
Estelle Brachlianoff, Veolia’s Senior Executive Vice-President UK & Ireland
The World Economic Forum has forecast that the circular economy will contribute $1 trillion per annum globally by 2025. Until now, there had been no specific analysis of the potential gains to be made in the UK.