| Sustainability

Circularity Gap report highlights need for international approach to sustainability

Diane Crowe, Group Sustainability Director at Reconomy

Circle Economy’s Circularity Gap Report 2024 shines a light on the positive steps countries across the world are making towards a more sustainable future.

However, it also highlights the distance we still have to travel to develop a truly circular global economy that preserves finite resources and breaks out of the ‘make, take, waste’ cycle and towards one based on reuse, recovery and recycling.

Despite increased awareness and commitments to sustainability, the report highlights that the global economy remains predominantly linear, with only a fraction of resources being reused or recycled.

While this is alarming, building out a broad and detailed understanding of the work that needs to be done to boost circularity is a critical step in catalysing ambitious, sustainable change.

Getting the ball rolling

The report finds that while the circular economy is gaining traction – with the volume of discussions, debates and articles on the concept almost tripling over the past five years – global circularity is still in decline.1

The share of secondary materials consumed by the global economy has decreased from 9.1% in 2018 to 7.2% in 2023, a 21% drop over the course of five years.

Meanwhile, consumption continues to accelerate.

Throughout the same period (2018-2023), globally, we have consumed over 500 gigatonnes. That’s almost a third (28%) of all the materials humanity has consumed since 1900 in just the past five years.

International solutions for an international problem

This year’s study also splits the world into three country profiles – lower-income is Build, middle-income is Grow and high-income is Shift.

Lower-income Build countries generally struggle to meet basic needs for healthcare and education, Grow countries have a rising per capita material footprint and HDI score, while Shift countries export large volumes of domestically extracted resources.

The three key solutions in the report are to “create a level policy playing field, get the economics right, and build circular expertise and skills,” with the latter being Reconomy’s core mission and purpose.

Reconomy’s purpose

We exist to help countries, businesses and individuals ‘think circular,’ bending the edges of linear business models across the world by integrating circular economy strategies and processes into everyday operations.

We combine technology, skills and incredible people to help businesses manage their resources better, reduce waste, optimise supply chains, and contribute in a meaningful way toward the international circular economy.

Whether that is through technology underpinning Deposit Return Schemes, waste management services for blue chip construction companies, returns management for the biggest retail brands, or data-led insights to help supermarkets manage their resources, Reconomy exists to embed sustainability into our economies.

The Circle Economy’s 2024 Circularity Gap Report serves as a wake-up call for action, urging stakeholders to redouble their efforts in transitioning towards a low carbon, circular economy.

While the challenges may be daunting, the opportunities for sustainable growth, environmental stewardship, and social equity are compelling. By embracing circular solutions and fostering collaboration, we can pave the way towards a more resilient and regenerative future for generations to come.


1 – Circularity Gap Report 2024: Download here