We envision an economic system that ensures the planet and all people can thrive

Everything we do at Circle Economy is guided by the vision: an economic system that ensures the planet and all people can thrive. We are a global impact organisation founded in 2011, and to date have worked with over 80+ businesses, 31+ cities and 20+ nations around the world.
Our practical and scalable approach is focused on empowering decision-makers from the public and private sectors to develop and implement circular economy strategies and business models. We do this by combining research, data, and digital tools for the greater good.

Our goal: doubling global circularity in the next 10 years

Today, the world is 8.6% circular and at the brink of climate breakdown. If we double this rate, we will limit global warming to well below 2-degrees, enhance biodiversity and create cleaner air. In a world that is 17% circular, climate catastrophe will be avoided.

Learn more about the multitude of other benefits circular economy provides in the latest Circularity Gap report.
Photo credit: DIPAYAN BOSE / Climate Visuals Countdown

Wellbeing for  people and the planet

We aim to drive a circular transition that delivers environmental, economic and social benefits. In doing so, we work to actively improve the link between the circular economy and wider global issues. These include greenhouse gas emissions, resource scarcity, resilient business models, labour and social equality. The global circular transition must be people-centric, resource-safe and climate-smart.

Why now and why the circular economy?

Our world's resource consumption has tripled in the last 50 years: we now consume more than 100 billion tonnes each year. Our latest flagship Circularity Gap Report highlighted that only 8.6% of these resources are cycled—or reused—and 70% of greenhouse gasses are directly linked to the extraction, handling, and consumption of materials. In other words, our out-of-control consumption patterns and systems are directly linked to the current climate crisis.

The circular economy offers solutions to drastically reduce material-related emissions, as well as to address other systemic flaws from biodiversity loss to global inequality.

Read more about the link between resources and greenhouse gas emissions in our Circularity Gap Report 2021
Photo credit: Abir Abdullah / Climate Visuals Countdown

our approach

A circular economy that is understandable, relevant, and actionable.

The 'why' of a circular economy is clear — but the how remains unknown.
When implementing the circular economy, key actors can struggle to find and unite the right partners, uncover the data and tools needed to identify and apply circular strategies, and measure progress. They lack the evidence needed to convince key stakeholders that the circular economy is the right way to go — and may have limited resources to drive action even once they have committed. Overall, our dominant linear systems—legal, cultural, financial, or technological — hinder efforts to bring about change.

Circle Economy works to overcome these barriers. We use hard data and facts to create roadmaps for action and inform decision making. We build digital products that can be tailored to specific contexts, making the circular economy understandable and actionable. And we do this across crucial topics and impact sectors.

Interested in helping support our mission?

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Join us on our mission

Do you want to join us in a mission of empowering the practical and scalable implementation of the circular economy and be a part of creating a world where people and the planet thrive? Explore our projects and initiatives for which we seek to support:

The Circularity Gap Metric: Harnessing the power of nations to close the Circularity Gap

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The Circularity Gap Metric: Harnessing the power of nations to close the Circularity Gap

our envisioned impact

100 Countries will receive a measurement of national circularity with the Circularity Gap Metric and circular scenarios for change. This will allow decision-makers to track their circular performance, all while
transforming material production and consumption, reducing emissions and contributing to closing the global Circularity Gap.

SUMMARY

Launched in 2018 at the World Economic Forum in Davos, the Circularity Gap Report introduced the Circularity Gap Metric—a baseline measurement of the current state of global circularity. The metric unravels the complexity of the global economy and details how resources are used to fulfil key societal needs. Now, three years on from the first report, we see our current state of circularity going in reverse: our world is only 8.6% circular, leaving a massive Circularity Gap of over 90%.

The role of nations in closing our Circularity Gap is immense and we have adapted our global metric to offer the Circularity Gap Metric for multiple nations and regions: Austria, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Quebec.

Applying the Circularity Gap Metric to a national economy gives leaders an understanding of their current benchmark, but also provides clarity on the total potential for improvement, and the economic, social, and environmental benefits that can be realised.

Our aim is to significantly accelerate the adoption of this metric with nations and regions by making an initial analysis of the levels of circularity of the top 100 countries and regions around the world, and craft nationally-specific circular economy strategies that reduce the Circularity Gap while maximising social and environmental benefits.

The funding would be used for three main activities:

  • Automation of data collection and framework development that will ensure that as many countries as possible can access the best quality analysis, a comparable set of metrics, and have reliable tools to easily add new data and monitor their progress over time.
  • Conduct research that links circular resource management strategies to environmental, economic, and social impacts. This research is a new element to our CGR approach, but is essential for local stakeholders to understand the benefits and tradeoffs that circular economy strategies can generate. This research will be conducted in close collaboration with our scientific committee to ensure that the analysis methods are robust and reliable.
  • Continue the development of practical and intuitive online tools for local stakeholders to extract relevant insights from local data and implement data-driven policy targets.

funding needed:

1.5 million EUR per year for the next two years

Interested in joining?

Contact us

The majority of the global population lives in cities: we must make them circular

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The majority of the global population lives in cities: we must make them circular

our envisioned impact

50 cities are equipped with comprehensive circularity strategies, based on the best available data and tailored to the unique needs of their locality. These cities can reach local circularity and climate goals while providing for the needs of their citizens within the means of the planet.

SUMMARY

Over the last 10 years, Circle Economy has worked with nearly 40 cities to develop tailored circular economy strategies based on data. Using the Circle City Scan approach, we take city stakeholders on a journey from understanding the status quo of resource use and waste generation to identifying promising opportunities and developing action plans to pursue them. The approach is centered on city-level Material Flow Analysis (MFA), which has been identified by the International Resource Panel, UNEP, OECD, ICLEI and others as a key methodology to support cities in their transition from linear to circular.

The Circle City Scan approach is unique in its use of data visualisation and stakeholder engagement to build a local support base for the circular economy transition. Now that we have refined and standardised this process, our goal is to significantly upscale this work by developing circularity strategies for 50 cities in the next five years. This would involve partnering with institutions in each city to gather relevant data from multiple sources, engaging with local stakeholders to draw insights from the data, and using these insights and our database of over 3000 case studies to co-develop impactful strategies and roadmaps for action. This would result in the establishment of a well-informed and active network of local stakeholders in 50 cities around the world, who understand their role in the circular economy transition and are empowered to act.

funding needed:

1.2 million EUR per year over the course of the next five years

Interested in joining?

Contact us

It’s time to digitalise the circular transition to scale it around the world

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It’s time to digitalise the circular transition to scale it around the world

our envisioned impact

At least 150 businesses, 400 cities and 40 nations embark on their circular economy journey, boosted by easy access to knowledge, data and actionable insights from our digital tools.

SUMMARY

Over the last 10 years, Circle Economy has developed digital tools as an extension to our practical solutions for circular economy strategies. Tools like Knowledge Hub, the largest circular economy case study library, the City Scan Tool and the Circle Assessment Tool.

In line with our strategy, we are leveraging technology to accelerate the global transition to a safe and just world. An investment is needed to create a user-centric, coherent and integrated digital platform to amplify our impact. We have developed a sustainable product vision, tested the prototype with the target audience and are currently developing the first release of the product, to be launched in Sub-Saharan cities in Africa first. This will be in Q1 2022.

We aim to support agents and actors in businesses, cities and nations in all regions of the world to Explore, Scan and Act on their circularity journey. The platform will integrate the existing tools on a common data and knowledge platform. The product will, however, offer the user new features like a policy tracker, comparisons and benchmarks, a circular jobs indicator and case-study notifications. As one of the only platforms focused on connecting the transition journeys of cities and nations between continents, it will provide accessible insights on an unprecedented scale, connect businesses, cities and nations with similar profiles to transition faster and it will build up a learning base through powerful allies.

Our digital product aims to make it incredibly easy for agents and actors to put a plan together, get it approved by stakeholders and actually start doing.

We seek support from trusts and foundations with experience or affinity with data-centric, digital solutions. The funds raised will be allocated to increase the speed of delivery and distribution to high impact regions, including the integration and analysis of third party data and the development of relevant content (such as localised case-studies). Equally important, we value the knowledge and the network a trust or a foundation could provide to further develop our platform.

funding needed:

1 million EUR per year for the next two years

Interested in joining?

Contact us

A resilient business revolution: making value chains circular with digital solutions

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A resilient business revolution: making value chains circular with digital solutions

our envisioned impact

1,000 companies use our digital tools to apply circular strategies to their value chains, becoming more circular and resilient.

SUMMARY

Within our 8.6% circular world with rising greenhouse gas emissions, sourcing and producing goods accounts for more than 70% of all emissions. Businesses and value chains are at the heart of the problem.

Aside from contributing to climate and emissions goals—and closing the Circularity Gap—many enterprises recognised that the circular economy brings them competitive advantages. This includes leading the innovation curve, opening up new markets, improving customer relations and increasing brand value. Circular businesses can also sidestep inevitable linear risks, from price volatility and pressure from new legislation to value chain failures.

Circle Economy was one of the first organisations worldwide to support businesses in implementing circular economy solutions. Our Circle Business Scan uses a data-driven approach to analyse and measure circularity in the material and energy flows of a business’s value chain. It identifies opportunities to rethink and improve upon product and service design and business and service models. To date, we have supported over 100 businesses—including both startups and major corporations.

Now, instead of supporting one business at a time, we need to transform whole sectors and regions. In other words: we need to go digital.

We are looking for funders who want to support our goal to digitise our expertise and activities to scale and accelerate our reach among the local and international business market. We envision moving from performing the services ourselves to teaching others how to perform the required services or, better yet—for businesses to do the work themselves. Our ultimate goal is to grow a suite of digital offerings that are financially self-sustaining. To do so, we will implement a combination of subscription and licence models that should grow our revenue to a level that will allow us to maintain and develop the suite independently. Until that moment, we will need a funder that shares our goal and vision.

funding needed:

1.25 million EUR per year for the next four years

Interested in joining?

Contact us

Our impact at-a-glance

kickstarted their circular transition thanks to the Circle Scan for Cities
built to support businesses and nations on their journey
through our Business Scan
on the Knowledge Hub; the world’s largest open source online collection
in our network, and thousands more in our orbit
in circular economy principles
trained in circular economy principles since 2011

contact us

For more information, please get in touch with our Fundraising and Partnerships team

tia
alahuhta
Fundraising Lead
Contact us

our partners

To achieve our goals, we believe in collaboration over competition.

Circle Economy would not be able to achieve the impact we have reached so far without the generous backing of our sponsors and donors. They have enabled the organisation to grow, mature and launch many of our most exciting and game-changing projects.

Their support allows us to take the necessary steps in making the circular economy a reality.