As 2021 draws to a close, we have much to reflect on. While the world's richest continue to consume more than 100 billion tonnes of materials per year and waste most of it, this year saw the coming and going of Glasgow's COP26—branded a 'fragile win'—as well a rallying cry from people around the world to combat climate breakdown. We also this year reached the ten-year milestone for our organisation: a decade of advancing the circular economy transition with the ultimate aim of doubling global circularity by 2032. With this newly defined goal, we can limit global warming temperature to well below 2-degrees—tackling environmental pressures and enhancing economic resilience in the process and—if designed with just principles in mind—addressing deepening social inequalities. A 17% circular world holds many benefits for businesses, cities and nations, and will allow us to create an economic system where people and the planet can thrive.
But as our research has reported, the global economy continues to consume over 100 billion tonnes of materials annually, of which over 90% becomes waste. With a global population set to reach 10 billion people by 2050, our current production and consumption patterns are highly unsustainable.
In this Impact Report, we will highlight how we have supported and accelerated the global circular economy transition in the last ten years and spotlight our flagship product—the Circle Scan. We will reflect on both the highlights from the work we did in 2021, as well as projects we concluded in past years but that continue to bear their fruits.