Leaders must align circular economy and UN sustainable development goals

17 June 2024 15:21

Badajoz/Zaragoza - Business leaders and governments need to better train people and create more incentives to align their plans for circular economies with global sustainable development goals, according to Spanish researchers. More training, better data collection, and more aggressive leadership are necessary to address the problem.

Nearly every major government and multinational company claims to want to create circular economies and promote the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, a plan that aims to end hunger, poverty, and other global problems while also reducing pollution, exploitation, and greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.

But these efforts are often misaligned, according to researchers of the universities of Extremadura and Zaragoza writing in an article published on May 29 in the journal Humanities and Social Sciences Communications.

“The circular economy is capable of improving the efficiency of products and resources, and can contribute to this social change, but there is a gap in the literature regarding whether the orientation of the companies in their circular economy strategy can lead to the achievement of the sustainable development goals,” wrote the articles co-authors.

Entitled “How does the circular economy achieve social change? Assessment in terms of sustainable development goals,” the article details a framework for how to align circular economic and 2030 Agenda goals.

Calling for “CE-SDGs frameworks,” the researchers found that better training is required to improve how policymakers and business leaders adapt rules and operations to recycling and reusing products to curb the extraction of virgin materials. They also found that companies must collect better data so that they and regulators can develop better plans for achieving green goals.

Lastly, the identified barriers to creating circular economies that align with 2030 milestones as well as incentives to pursue other measures that might conflict with the goals. Leaders must have the latitude to introduce circular economy practices to break down these barriers and encourage different behavior, they concluded. ce/jd

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