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Drivers for sustainable consumption and production:

  • Conssumer demand for sustainably-produced goods and services
  • the volatility of commodity prices
  • The energy intensity (and resulting cost) of certian new technologies
  • The trend for companies to consider the social and envrionmental dimensions of value chains,either for practical or reputational reasons
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Examples of influences and effects realting to more sustainable consumption production.



(Lack of)government support

(Lack of) national and international targets

Uneven environmental legislation

Employment rights


Insitututionalised continous growth

Economic growth

Economic crises

Low cost producers

Reducing costs


Changing societal values

Cost as accepted selling factor

Corporate sociatal impact not yet fully recognised

Distrubution wealth

Growing population

Growing middle class 

Choice editing


Facilitating  communication and supply chain management

Continuos differentiation and innovation

Lack of sustainablity /expertise/skill /vision

Internet/social media




Issues related to resource use

Visible effects of climate change

Rebound effects

Issues forced by legislation 

Issues realted to sustainable production 


Reducing biodiversiy

Depleting resource quantities

Sustainable supply chain issues and opportunities


Growhs of niche/new markets

Increasing competion of low cost countries

To further reduce costs 

(labour, energy,waste)

Eco-efficient and effective technologies and innovations

Corporate leadership

Issues that weigh on costs

Corporate choice-editing

Leading technologies abroad not in Europe/UK

Supply (chain) risk



Distribution of wealth /equality


Quality of live

Possible moves away from environmental risk areas

Matters that enhance or protect corportate brand


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What is a circular economy?

A framework for an economy that is restorative and regenerative by design

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What is a circular economy?

What is a circular economy?

Looking beyond the current take-make-waste extractive industrial model, a circular economy aims to redefine growth, focusing on positive society-wide benefits. It entails gradually decoupling economic activity from the consumption of finite resources, and designing waste out of the system. Underpinned by a transition to renewable energy sources, the circular model builds economic, natural, and social capital. It is based on three principles:

  • Design out waste and pollution
  • Keep products and materials in use
  • Regenerate natural systems
  • Re-Thinking Progess explores how through a change in perspective we can re-design the way our economy works-designing products that can be made to made again and powering the system with renevwable energy. It questions whether with creativity and innovation we can build a restorative economy.
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Technical and biological cycles

The model distinguishes between technical and biological cycles. Consumption happens only in biological cycles, where food and biologically-based materials (such as cotton or wood) are designed to feed back into the system through processes like composting and anaerobic digestion. These cycles regenerate living systems, such as soil, which provide renewable resources for the economy. Technical cycles recover and restore products, components, and materials through strategies like reuse, repair, remanufacture or (in the last resort) recycling.

Origins of the circular economy concept

The notion of circularity has deep historical and philosophical origins. The idea of feedback, of cycles in real-world systems, is ancient and has echoes in various schools of philosophy. It enjoyed a revival in industrialised countries after World War II when the advent of computer-based studies of non-linear systems unambiguously revealed the complex, interrelated, and therefore unpredictable nature of the world we live in – more akin to a metabolism than a machine. With current advances, digital technology has the power to support the transition to a circular economy by radically increasing virtualisation, de-materialisation, transparency, and feedback-driven intelligence.

Circular economy schools of thought

The circular economy model synthesises several major schools of thought. They include the functional service economy (performance economy) of Walter Stahel; the Cradle to Cradle design philosophy of William McDonough and Michael Braungart; biomimicry as articulated by Janine Benyus; the industrial ecology of Reid Lifset and Thomas Graedel; natural capitalism by Amory and Hunter Lovins and Paul Hawken; and the blue economy systems approach described by Gunter Pauli.


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Cradle to Cradle

Nutrient Matabolisms are Consumption Products (Biological Nutrients) and Service Products are Technical Nutrients

Biological Nutrients,food, shampoo, detergent

Technical Nutrients, cars, furniture, textiles 



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Performance economy

It pursues four main goals: product-life extension, long-life goods, reconditioning activities, and waste prevention. It also insists on the importance of selling services rather than products, an idea referred to as the ‘functional service economy’, now more widely subsumed into the notion of ‘performance economy’. Stahel argues that the circular economy should be considered a framework: as a generic notion, the circular economy draws on several more specific approaches that gravitate around a set of basic principles.


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Industrial Ecology

“Industrial ecology is the study of material and energy flows through industrial systems”. Focusing on connections between operators within the ‘industrial ecosystem’, this approach aims at creating closed-loop processes in which waste serves as an input, thus eliminating the notion of an undesirable by-product. Industrial ecology adopts a systemic point of view, designing production processes in accordance with local ecological constraints whilst looking at their global impact from the outset, and attempting to shape them so they perform as close to living systems as possible. This framework is sometimes referred to as the ‘science of sustainability’, given its interdisciplinary nature, and its principles can also be applied in the services sector. With an emphasis on natural capital restoration, industrial ecology also focuses on social wellbeing.



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Natural Capitalism

The following four principles underpin natural capitalism:

  • Radically increase the productivity of natural resources - Through radical changes to design, production and technology, natural resources can be made to last much longer than they currently do. The resulting savings in cost, capital investment and time will help to implement the other principles.
  • Shift to biologically inspired production models and materials - Natural capitalism seeks to eliminate the concept of waste by modelling closed-loop production systems on nature’s designs where every output is either returned harmlessly to the ecosystem as a nutrient, or becomes an input for another manufacturing process.
  • Move to a “service-and-flow” business model - Providing value as a continuous flow of services rather than the traditional sale-of-goods model aligns the interests of providers and customers in a way that rewards resource productivity.
  • Reinvest in natural capital - As human needs expand and pressures on natural capital mount, the need to restore and regenerate natural resources increases.


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Sustainable production is: 

The creation of goods and services using processes and systems that are: non-polluting; conserving energy and natural resources; economically viable; safe and healthy for workers, communities, and consumers; [and] socially and creatively rewarding for all working people. If production is sustainable, then the environment, employees, communities, and organisations all benefit. 

3 ways to meet future demand for products

  1. Expanding supply
  2. Increasing productivity
  3. Alterng the nature of demand itself


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Sustainable manufacturing is about “developing technologies to transform materials without emission of greenhouse gases, use of non-renewable or toxic materials or generation of waste”(Brennan & Vecchi, 2015). The greatest potential for eco-efficiency often exists in the heavy industry sectors of steel and cement, the building and transport sectors, and in agriculture. Other important opportunities to increase the eco-efficiency of production include implementing industrial symbiosis and improving recycling rates (UNEP, 2015).

two strategies for sustainable manufacturing:

  1. Improving existing operational efficiency, such as energy efficiency and capturing heat during manufacturing processes.
  2. Making manufacturing more fundamentally sustainable, like using less material by design and developing longer-life products. 
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four areas of inquiry have furthered our understanding of the psychological drivers of PSBs:

  1. Cognitive barriers: Encouraging consumers to adopt a future focus with tangible consequences; for example, positive messages such as “We will save over one million trees each year” have been shown to improve recycling.
  2. Self-identity: Consumers are motivated by opportunities to showcase their PSBs among their communities (both in-person and online) as a means of building status, reputation, and “moral credentials”; for example, via eco-labels or sustainable brands.
  3. Social influence: Occurs on an interpersonal level via changes to social norms as a result of seeking social approval or responding to disapproval; for example, via the use of normative information in marketing messages such as “two-thirds of your neighbours use renewable energy”.
  4. Product characteristics: Although some work has shown that consumers value sustainable attributes, this is heavily influenced by their overall worldviews and the expected benefits from certain product categories
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Making Sustaianble lives easier a priority for governments business and society4 recommended points:



• A clear positive vision for sustainable lives that engages all players and is clear about the priorities for action to achieve the goal of sustainable lives. • Making it easy by providing a framework that uses the full spectrum of levers and incentives to ‘enable’ us to do the ‘right thing’ more easily. • Working with others through better collaboration and better partnerships between national and local governments, civil society organisations, businesses, communities and people themselves – All play a vital role in the transition to sustainable lives. • Building capabilities and using evidence to create better understanding of what works in practice, and using this knowledge in policy making