An increasing number of businesses market themselves and their products as being sustainable and circular. Yet, whether new business models actually deliver resource savings and sufficiently consider other aspects such as social equity remains an open question.
A new report by Circle Economy, the European Environmental Bureau and the Fair-Trade Advocacy Office launches a debate on what constitutes truly sustainable business models. The report identifies blind spots in the European textile and electronics sectors, helping policymakers and business leaders understand how they can address the manifold challenges of the post COVID-19 economy.
Jean-Pierre Schweitzer, Policy Officer for the Circular Economy at the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), said:
There is no doubt we need more circular businesses like repairing, reusing and product as a service. Yet in a world where inequality is soaring, we cannot neglect other key aspects of sustainability like human rights and social justice. Policy makers and entrepreneurs urgently need to connect the dots on these topics to reduce the exploitation of natural resources as well as individuals and communities.
Sergi Corbalán, Executive Director of the Fair Trade Advocacy Office, said:
“Free trade approaches to the circular economy have many blind spots. Rather than turning a blind eye on them, let us work together to promote business models and supply chains that are both circular and fair”.
Natalia Papu, Research Analyst at Circle Economy, said:
"In their plans to build back better after the COVID-19 pandemic, governments and businesses need to address many challenges, ranging from growing inequalities to the climate breakdown. Once its blinds pots are addressed, the circular economy offers an opportunity for decision makers to strengthen justice and fairness for all."
The report was launched at an online event hosted by FTAO and the EEB, as well as Young Enterprise Europe, The Club of Rome, and the European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform. This event is part of the European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform’s series of #CircularTalks.