World Circular Economy Forum to convene in Brussels

29 January 2024 17:24

Politics

​​​​​​​Brussels - This year’s World Circular Economy Forum will take place in Brussels, Belgium from April 15 to 18. The Forum will give investors opportunities to discuss how to expand the global circular economy. Currently, only 7.2 percent of commerce worldwide reuses and recycles products.

While shifting to renewable energy sources to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is key to a sustainable future, embracing the circular economy is also vital to cutting pollution and fighting climate change. Yet today only 7.2 percent of the global economy is taking advantage of circularity, according to the Circle Economy Foundation’s Circularity Gap Report 2024.

“There is plenty of room for wiser, circular solutions among global systems – for example in agrifood, mobility, and consumables,” said Circular Economy Foundation Chief Executive Officer Ivonne Bojoh in a January 24 press release. “We must reform our finance and labor policies to put in place lasting and impactful changes that address the root cause of climate change and social inequity.”

To achieve these reforms, the Finnish government and Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra have been organizing the World Circular Economy Forum. Its first edition took place in Helsinki in 2017, followed by Yokohama, Toronto, and Kigali, among other places. This year’s World Circular Economy Forum takes place in Brussels, Belgium from April 15 to 18. 

“We are convinced that the next big play in the investment arena we’ll see is around circular solutions,” said Atte Jääskeläinen, president of the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra, which helped organize the WCEF. “This shift is necessary to tackle overconsumption of natural resources.”

Jääskeläinen and his colleagues are facing a tough challenge. According to the United Nations International Resource Panel, the extraction of raw materials is increasing by 2.3 percent annually on average. At that rate, by 2060, the world will be using as much as 160 billion tonnes annually of virgin resources, a 60 percent increase compared to today.

“Material (over)use is a main element of global sustainability and equality challenges deserving proper policy attention,” said UN International Resource Panel Co-Chair Janez Potočnik. ce/jd

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