Global leaders pledge to build back better with circular economy

3rd July 2020

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Isla MacRae

More than 50 policymakers, CEOs and other influential individuals worldwide have highlighted the circular economy as a solution to building back better from the coronavirus pandemic.

In a joint statement, the leaders outlined how they are “more committed than ever“ to transitioning to a circular economy, extracting value from plastics, fashion, food and finance in a way that combines economic opportunity with wider societal and environmental benefits. The CEOs of Nestl√© and Unilever are among the signatories, urging businesses and governments to invest in circular economy initiatives while raising the ambition level of their own targets. This comes as various political, financial and charitable groups lend their support to calls to 'build back better' from the coronavirus crisis with low-carbon projects and economic stimulus packages.

“As we rise to the challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the question is no longer should we build back better, but how,“ the statement reads. “The circular economy offers a solution for how to do so.

“By designing out waste, keeping products and materials in use, and regenerating natural systems, it creates vital opportunities for economic growth that also restore the environment, create jobs, and benefit society.“

Convened by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the signatories have pledged to eliminate all plastic they don't need, innovate towards new business models and materials, and keep the plastic they do use in the economy and out of the environment.

For fashion, the leaders said they would ensure clothes are used more, are made to be made again, and are produced from safe and renewable materials.

They also committed to redesign food products and supply chains in order to regenerate nature, eliminate waste and connect local production and consumption, and to support financial companies that transition to circular business models.

“And we will not stop there,“ the statement says. “We can do the same for other industries that have vital roles to play in this recovery, including healthcare, technology, mobility, electronics, chemicals, and the built environment.

“We call on more businesses, governments, and financial institutions around the world to join us on the journey towards a circular economy, to invest in circular economy solutions, and to raise the ambition level of circular economy targets, while delivering faster against existing ones.“

Read the statement in full at

Picture credit: Shutterstock

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