November 5, 2019
World Economic Forum announces major circular economy initiative
The World Economic Forum is creating a new partnership which it claims will harness the potential of technology innovation and smart policy to fast-track the circular economy. WEF claims that SCALE 360 will collaborate with government, business, civil society and entrepreneurs around the world to find bright new ideas that will help us cut the waste in the world’s economies. It defines a circular economy as a regenerative approach to production and consumption, in which products and materials are redesigned, recovered and reused to reduce environmental impacts. Research shows that this transition could generate $4.5 trillion in additional economic output by 2030.Although the concept has caught the attention of businesses and governments but is far from being mainstream. Today, only 9 percent of extracted materials are re-used. Meanwhile, the extraction and processing of natural resources continues to add to half of global greenhouse gas emissions and is projected to more than double by 2050.
SCALE 360 is affiliated with the Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy. It aims to create new markets for circular goods, services and revenue by surfacing, supporting and connecting entrepreneurs and innovations through nationally-led challenges and partnerships. The idea is to help them scale up solutions in partnership with government ministries, impact investors, experts, and companies. The first of these national partnerships launches today in the United Arab Emirates. The next national partnership will launch in Chile with a long-term goal of growing a global network of change makers.
“This partnership aims to trigger a worldwide movement for radical change by identifying new technologies and business solutions that break our dependency on natural resource extraction while marrying targets for protecting the environment with ones for boosting economies,” said Dominic Waughray, Head of the Centre for Global Public Goods, Member of Managing Board, World Economic Forum.
The announcement comes as innovations like blockchain-enabled asset tracking, digital business models, new materials and recovery systems enabled by artificial intelligence emerge across the world.
“SCALE 360 will fast track our global efforts to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. In addition to ensuring the conservation of our natural resources, a circular economy will step up our reliance on clean energy, enhance the consistent implementation of sustainable development standards, and generate greater opportunities for the youth in the region,” said H.E. Dr. Thani Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change & Environment of the United Arab Emirates. “Artificial Intelligence and advanced technologies have incredible potential to change our relationship with natural resources by applying it in new ways. This partnership provides an important opportunity to trigger new solutions and applications of these technologies” said H.E. Mr Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence of the United Arab Emirates.
SCALE 360 builds on research developed by the World Economic Forum in collaboration with Accenture Strategy to explore the potential for Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies to accelerate the circular economy transition for plastics and electronics. The World Economic Forum will host the partnership with an initial investment of CHF 1 million from the UAE Government and will tap into the Forum’s networks of experts, civil society, government and industry leaders, PACE and the network of Centers for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.