Week of the Circular Economy • Corporate Sustainability

Today, February 3rd, 2020, the week of the circular economy has begun in the Netherlands. Throughout the country there will be 160 different events that showcasing the latest technologies, teach entrepreneurs on how to implement new findings, or inform people on what they can do to create a more balanced resource consumption. Read further to find out what circular economy exactly means, why it is important for our future and the amazing opportunities that it contains for current students.

What is a “circular economy”?

A circular economy tackles the continual use and disposal of resources. Most current productions are using a structure in which resources are found, a product is made and used, and then thrown away. This is also known as a linear economy. A circular system adds reuse, repair, refurbishment, remanufacturing and recycling to this to create a closed-loop system, minimizing the use of raw resources and the creation of pollution, carbon emissions, and waste. The circular economy aims to keep products, equipment, and infrastructure in use for longer, thus improving the productivity of these resources.

Why is it important?

The global population is growing fast. While the world had around 2 billion people on its surface in 1928, it is expected that this number will be bigger than 9 billion by 2050. The number of resources that we consume is growing at an even faster rate, while their reserves are shrinking. Not only are the necessary resources finite, but some are also only available by importing them from other countries. This is increasing dependability and uses a lot of fuel because of transportation. According to the European Parliament, waste prevention, ecodesign (the elimination of planned obsolescence that some companies use), and re-use could save EU companies €600 billion annually, while also reducing total greenhouse gas emissions by 2-4%. Moving to a more circular economy would therefore not only reduce the current pressure on the environment, but it would also stimulate innovation and boost economic growth.

Its amazing opportunities

The current ecological issues were truly a wake-up call during the last years. It opened people’s eyes and highlighted the importance of being more sustainable in almost every part of our life. The switch to a more circular economy has thus far created 580.000 jobs in the EU alone. It’s a new, unexplored part of research and business. There are plenty of discoveries yet to make, and the necessity for it creates a large sum of cash flowing through its projects. From now on, take a look at the things you throw away and if they aren’t recycled or reused already, try to come up with a way how it could happen anyway. Who knows, you might come up with an amazing idea that makes you a millionaire, while also having an enormous, positive impact on the world surrounding you. Sounds good, doesn’t it?

If you want to know more about sustainability and act on it, this blog called “How to be sustainable at the VU?” is a must-read. Don’t hesitate to walk by the VU’s Green Office to find out how you can make a difference!