This three year project, which started in May 2018, aims to reduce our consumption of planetary resources; both finite non-renewable resources which will ultimately run out, and also the renewable resources which are being depleted at rates which are not sustainable. Unsustainable resource consumption is one of the main drivers of environmental degradation and biodiversity loss. It is also undermining the resources that our economy relies on.
A circular economy (CE) is an alternative to a linear economy. A linear economy, which has increasingly characterised our economy in recent decades, follows an extract, make, use, dispose pattern. In contrast, a more circular economy aims to keep resources in use for as long as possible, extracting the maximum value from them whilst in use and recovering products and materials from them at the end of each service life. In a world of finite resources, the CE offers a system whereby we can reduce our demand on the planet’s resources and foster a more resilient economy.
The Scottish Government has a CE strategy: Making Things Last. It includes a range of ambitious waste related targets for 2020 and 2025. The CE also features in the Economic Strategy and the Manufacturing Action Plan. The Scottish Government also has a commitment to a CE Bill in this parliamentary session, although, at this stage, there is no indication of this being forthcoming. Scotland is committed to staying in line with Europe on environmental issues and Europe has an evolving CE Strategy with new targets.
Our impression is that most CE activity to date in Scotland falls into the following areas:
- Where there is clear economic advantage, such as in the aerospace industry.
- Addressing litter, particularly marine litter, which has led to the commitments for deposit return and other initiatives on plastic.
- Addressing food waste
- Sectors chosen as a focus in Making Things Last, based on their importance to the Scottish Economy and those that are material heavy.
- Social enterprises focussing on repair and reuse.
- Work with Skills Development Scotland and a CE skills hub
The LINK project will:
- Engage in the CE Bill process to ensure that it is a comprehensive and strong bill.
- Monitor and highlight progress / lack of progress with regard to existing targets and advocate for new targets on material consumption and material flows.
- Research and campaign to increase circularity in a specific sector / area of activity which is of interest to LINK members, to be determined.
- Work with colleagues at UK and EU levels on relevant policy areas.
The project will seek to build a coalition of organisations to add weight to advocacy.
LINK is grateful to the Friends Provident Foundation for their 3 year grant in support of this project.
For any questions please contact Phoebe Cochrane, Sustainable Economics Officer, Email Phoebe