London To Take Circular Economy “Leadership Role”

LWARB-circular-economyThe London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB) and Greater London Authority (GLA) will work with stakeholders to focus on making sure London benefits from a new circular economy, it announced today in a new report. 

The ‘Towards a Circular Economy’ report aims to set out the context and opportunities for a London circular economy route map and also aims to inform about future policy and raise awareness within both the private and public sector of what a circular economy is.

A review of current work in the city shows a lot of effort is already focused on renewable/decentralised energy and water, according to the report. However, it said that more effort could yield bigger returns in the area of products and materials.

Boris Johnson Mayor of London – “London is leading the way in terms of the low carbon goods and environmental services economy which was valued in excess of £30bn in 2014/15. I want London to take the same leadership role for the circular economy.

Initial focus areas for action in London have been identified as: the built environment; food; textiles; electricals; and plastics. These focus areas have been chosen because of their “high environmental impact, their retained financial value and potential for reuse”. These areas could also benefit London to the tune of at least £7bn annually by 2036, according to LWARB.

A small stakeholder working group will be established for each focus area and for the cross-cutting themes of business models and procurement. Many stakeholders are already working on circular economy business models in these focus areas. Our aim is to draw this experience through to the next stage of the process.

Each working group will write a chapter of the route map that identifies partners, actions, opportunities and challenges along the way. The circular economy route map for London will consist of this context and opportunities document and the forthcoming chapters. These chapters will be published on the LWARB website in early 2016.

Boris Johnson Mayor of London, said: “London is leading the way in terms of the low carbon goods and environmental services economy which was valued in excess of £30bn in 2014/15. I want London to take the same leadership role for the circular economy. London is home to many of the enabling businesses that will deliver the circular economy including digital, finance, media and higher education but it also has immense buying power that can create the demand for the circular economy which will in turn pay dividends in increased employment and economic growth.”

Enabling A Circular Economy

LWARB and Greater London Authority (GLA) have also identified five enabling sectors in this document that have the “skills and experience” to support London in its transition to a circular economy. These sectors are:

  • digital
  • finance and service
  • media
  • higher education
  • government

Each working group will identify specific actions for these sectors within the forthcoming chapters of this report.

The GLA and LWARB have joined with circular economy thought leaders the Ellen MacArthur Foundation to give London the chance to network, share and learn from other cities, regions and businesses about the benefits of a circular economy.

By December 2016, it will have set new targets to measure progress on:

  • new jobs and training opportunities for Londoners.
    increasing the number of circular business start-ups, as well as existing circular businesses scaling up and more traditional businesses moving to a circular business model.
  • a number of circular economy demonstration projects.
  • increased rates of product recycling, sharing, re-use and remanufacture in focus areas.
    increasing the number of GLA group procurements that use circular economy principles.
  • greater understanding of how a circular economy can contribute to London’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets.

Dr Liz Goodwin OBE, CEO WRAP: “In a world of dwindling natural resources and rising populations, the make-use-throw away, make another, business model is no longer fit for purpose. We need a circular economy approach where materials are valued and designed to last longer, and where opportunities for re-using materials are easily accessible.

“It is fantastic that London is embracing this new approach and this context and opportunities document makes a strong case for action. The circular economy has the potential to directly benefit London, with latest research showing opportunities for more than 12,000 new jobs by 2030.”


CIWM Resource Conference Cymru 

The CIWM Resource Conference Cymru will be exploring the new EU circular economy package. With a focus on clarifying the package and targets, exploring what these mean in practical terms and revealing real-life solutions and best practice, hear first-hand from EU speakers and join in the discussions with professionals from across the industry. For more information and to book your place click here.

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