Draws on the most comprehensive knowledge base in the circular economy space, pulling the latest trends and best practices based on data analysis of a unique dataset of 1000+ case studies
Concrete and practical steps on how organizations can mature towards a holistic circular organization
Shows the real business benefits of circular economy programs
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Table of contents (23 chapters)
Where Do We Need to Be?—Scaling Industry Impact
About this book
Can we align global production and consumption systems with sustainability? Can business growth actually lead to a healthier planet? Can companies innovate through the circular economy to create competitive advantage and genuine impact?
Waste to Wealth proved that the emerging circular economy advantage exists – now Lacy, Long and Spindler show you how to realize it at speed and scale in The Circular Economy Handbook.
We stand at a crossroads, with rising geopolitical and geo-economic tensions, massive technological change and a host of social and environmental challenges. We are pushing planetary boundaries to their limits, with climate change and threats to biodiversity and oceans as just a few examples. Significant impacts are already being felt, and both people and planet face potentially catastrophic and irreversible consequences if we don’t urgently change our global model and systems. Our current linear “take, make, waste” models of production and consumption will not be sustainable in a world of some 9 billion people by 2050, especially with ever-expanding rates of consumption. Thriving within these dynamics demands more than incremental adjustments to business-as-usual.
The circular economy offers a powerful means to decouple growth from use of scarce and harmful resources, enabling greater production and consumption with fewer negative environmental impacts—at the same time, making companies more innovative and competitive. In fact, this book shows that $4.5 trillion in economic value is at stake.
Delivering on the promise of a circular economy demands impact and scale, extending through value chains and, ultimately, disrupting the entire economic system.
In The Circular Economy Handbook, the authors illuminate the path from insight to action, from linear to circular. With case studies, advice and practical guidance, they show leaders how to pivot towards a holistic circular organization, embedding circularity internally and delivering broad-based system change.
With unique insights across business models, technologies, and industries – featuring stories and real-world examples from circular pioneers – this book is the essential guide to help companies become leaders in the movement to secure the circular economy advantage.
“Our generation has the unique opportunity to reconcile the paradox between progress for all and a sustainable future for our planet, thanks to a step change in efficiency. Digital technologies are there to help, to shift the way we manage energy, provided we rethink the way we design buildings, industries, cities. The Circular Economy Handbook demonstrates how digitization and circular models go hand in hand to enable this efficiency.” (Jean-Pascal Tricoire, Chairman and CEO, Schneider Electric)
“We believe that waste will come to be seen as a precious commodity, shaping new business models and defining commercial opportunities hitherto unimagined. Act now and be part of this systemic transformation in our economy, our lives, our relationship to the environment. This handbook, with its deep practical insights supported by extensive knowledge and research, is a timely contribution to the field and essential reading for the conscious, contemporary leader.” (Antoine Frérot, Chairman and CEO, Veolia. Author of Water: Towards a culture of responsibility (2011))
“There cannot be an effective circular economy without private sector’s engagement and innovation. Raising awareness on circular economy opportunities and empowering companies from different industries to become circular leaders is a crucial way to accelerate the transition.” (Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, European Commission)
“The business case for the circular economy is crystal clear. Whilst many are already realizing value from the concept, our world is still only 9% circular. This new handbook will play an important role in scaling up the circular economy as it provides practical guidance for companies and puts a much-needed spotlight on the disruptive technologies needed to drive the transition. Nature is already circular, now it’s up to us to do the same.” (Feike Sijbesma, CEO, Royal DSM)
“The Circular Economy Handbook provides private sector leaders with an overall framework as well as specific implementation guidance for revamping their business processes to make them more circular and consequently sustainable.” (Bea Perez, Senior Vice President & Chief Communications, Public Affairs, Sustainability & Marketing Assets Officer, The Coca-Cola Company)
“Climate change is on everyone’s lips. But given material and land use account for close to half of global emissions, we cannot solve the climate crisis without a clear focus on the circular economy. Circularity is the tool needed to deliver real decoupling of economic growth and resource usage. In The Circular Economy Handbook, the authors demonstrate there is a path forward for sustainable business by providing actionable insights and practical strategies for making a successful circular transition.” (Ida Auken, MP, Chairman of the Parliament’s Energy and Climate Committee, Former Minister for The Environment, Denmark)
“Organizations great and small are pivoting towards the circular economy. To craft our path forward, the private sector must step forward and join hands with governments, civil society and consumers in leading the change. The Circular Economy Handbook arrives at a critical juncture in the history of humankind, as we devise entirely new modes of making, consuming and living. Channelling our energies together, with the grace of new technologies, we can catalyse such a transformation.” (Gonzalo Muñoz, Founder, TriCiclos)
“The Circular Economy Handbook’s predecessor, Waste to Wealth, has been an important resource for our circular economy strategy, showing that closed loop systems and upcycled materials can be drivers for growth. Now, this handbook goes one step further and provides practical insights on the role that innovation, technology and collaboration will play in securing a competitive advantage from circularity. It is a critical contribution to a rapidly growing school of thought, now more important than ever.” (Tony Milikin, Chief Sustainability and Procurement Officer, Anheuser-Busch InBev)
“In China, whilst policy-makers have made circular economy a priority as a top-down initiative, citizens are looking forward to seeing a much bigger bottom-up movement from business. The Circular Economy Handbook is timely piece to support this critical movement. Since its publication in 2015, I have introduced its predecessor, Waste to Wealth, to officials, business leaders and researchers in China. I look forward to doing the same with the handbook.” (Zhu Dajian, Professor and Director, Institute of Governance for Sustainability, Tongji University, Shanghai)
“We cannot solve tomorrow’s problems with today’s solutions, and the stakes are getting higher and higher as we fail to make real progress on the issues of our generation; climate change, unemployment and poverty in our developing economies. This handbook makes a valuable contribution by illustrating the powerful role digitisation and circular economies can play and by encouraging business leaders to not only push out on disruptive technologies, but also to re-invent their core businesses.” (Rob Shuter, Group CEO and President, MTN Group)
“The ‘take, make, waste’ mindset is difficult to break away from, but we are fast approaching a point of no return. The Circular Economy Handbook offers concrete direction for how to make the transition circular. It calls out that retrofitting small-scale circular initiatives into business–as-usual environments simply won’t deliver the change we need to see. I hope the Handbook becomes a practical companion for senior executives on their change journey. The time to act is now.” (Lise Kingo, CEO and Executive Director, United Nations Global Compact)“The Fourth Industrial Revolution will impact every aspect of our lives. In order to thrive within this new global dynamic, we need to adopt new business models and norms. The circular economy is one approach that can enable us to keep pace with technological innovation, support integrated and sustainable ecosystems, and move us towards a brighter future. The Circular Economy Handbook is an essential guide for organizations of all types looking to capitalize on the circular opportunity.” (Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum)
“The need to develop new business models to adapt to climate urgency, resource constraints and social imperatives is at the top of my personal agenda. The circular economy reinvents the way we create and share value for society at large, by extracting the highest possible value from materials. The Circular Economy Handbook represents a major contribution, helping us to move from concept to action, by scaling up and mainstreaming new business models in a pragmatic way.” (Ilham Kadri, CEO, Solvay)
Authors and Affiliations
Accenture, London, UK
Peter Lacy, Wesley Spindler
Accenture, Washington, D.C., USA
About the authors
Peter Lacy is a Senior Managing Director within Accenture Strategy. He advises senior leaders of Fortune 500 companies and public organizations on issues related to growth, innovation and sustainability amid technological disruption. He leads Accenture's relationship with organizations such as the World Economic Forum and United Nations, where he has led the world’s largest CEO study on sustainability since 2007. He is a business fellow at Oxford University, a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, and Co-Founder of The Circulars. He is a regular contributor to the BBC, Financial Times, Fast Company and other publications. He is co-author of Waste to Wealth (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015).
Jessica Long has over 20 years of experience working at the intersection of business, technology and sustainable development. A Managing Director within Accenture Strategy, she leads the North America Sustainability practice and previously led teams in Africa and Latin America. Jessica advises companies, governments and non-profits across the globe, focusing on responsible business, growth in emerging markets, new business models and socio-economic impact. She is a sought-after author and speaker and has a personal passion for social justice.Wesley Spindler is a Business & Sustainability Strategist within Accenture Strategy. She has been leading circular economy strategy programs with companies cross-industry and partners around the globe for many years. She also has strong expertise in technology innovation. She was Program Director of The Circulars, the world’s premier circular economy award program, run in collaboration with the World Economic Forum and Forum of Young Global Leaders, for the duration of the five-year initiative.
Book Title: The Circular Economy Handbook
Book Subtitle: Realizing the Circular Advantage
Authors: Peter Lacy, Jessica Long, Wesley Spindler
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan London
Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Limited 2020
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-349-95967-9Published: 29 January 2020
Softcover ISBN: 978-1-349-95970-9Published: 29 January 2021
eBook ISBN: 978-1-349-95968-6Published: 31 December 2019
Edition Number: 1
Number of Pages: XXXII, 350
Number of Illustrations: 16 b/w illustrations, 196 illustrations in colour