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Why storytelling is important for the circular economy | Greenbiz – GreenBiz

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Our built environment is an amazing interconnection of the systems that supports how we live, travel, connect and thrive. However, these delicate and complex systems are at risk of failure as the effects of climate change, social unrest and political turbulence become more prevalent.

We’ve reached a point where we need a complete reset of how we design, construct, operate and dismantle our systems. We can’t build new models for change on the back of a broken foundation. We need a new story that works for all.

Coreo is an award-winning company that advises and guides industry and government through their circular economy aspirations at both a strategic and operational level. Recognizing that the transition to a circular economy is systemic, we work on projects in all key sectors of the global economy including mining, agriculture, education, tourism, construction and property.

We’ve been fortunate enough to work with some of the world’s most recognizable organizations to operationalize the circular economy including Rio Tinto, BHP, Lendlease and the city of Sydney. Throughout all of these experiences, I can confirm wholeheartedly that catalyzing transformative change all starts with stories that inspires and excite.

Diagram shows circular economy opportunities from beyond the house

Stories are of immense importance because they enable us to imagine things collectively and act collaboratively — two cornerstones in the transition to a circular economy. 

But what is the circular economy and more important, what is it not? 

Well, for starters, let’s clear up our current status quo: the linear economy.

A linear economy is structured to “take, make and waste.” Meaning that raw materials are collected, then transformed into products that are used until they are finally discarded as waste. 

What experts and non-experts know for sure is that if the linear economic model is not replaced, the world will approach a tipping point where it will lose the capacity to sustain itself. 

In contrast, the circular economy is about integration so as to enable feedback loops and synergies. It is an economic model designed to be restorative and regenerative.

The circular economy is built upon multiple schools of thought and theories and as such, it often can be quite a nebulous and contested concept. To help achieve some clarity, and to ensure that the stories we tell each other about the future we need are rooted in fact, let me dispel a few of the more common circular economy myths: 

Myth 1: It’s all about better waste management

In a circular economy, waste is eliminated through better design, rather than developing novel ways to use waste that already has been created. It focuses on upstream innovation, not better waste management. There is a clear distinction between designing from waste and designing out waste. 

Myth 2: It’s only about recycling more

The focus of a circular economy is on maintaining products, components and materials at their highest possible value for the longest possible time. This can be achieved through reuse, repair, refurbishment and remanufacturing strategies. Recycling is part of the circular economy, but it represents the “loop of last resort” when other options for products and materials are no longer available. Say it with me, folks: recycling is not the answer.

Myth 3: Efficiency is the answer

Traditional sustainability efforts have focused on efficiency tactics — reducing the amount of material and energy used in production processes and aiming to lower environmental impacts. A strategy focused on reducing the negative impacts of our activities — or making them more efficient — can go only so far. We need to ensure systems are effective, not just efficient. Remember, it’s not about doing less bad but rather more good.

History tells us that a values shift is triggered by the creation of a new story of how we want to live.

Myth 4: It’s just a fancy word for sustainability 

The circular economy is a fundamentally different vision for the industrial economy in direct opposition to the incumbent take-make-waste linear model. It focuses on industry-led transformation and systems-level change, drawing inspiration from nature rather than individual action or guilt. It is about designing differently from the outset, rather than mitigating and reducing the impacts of something that already has been created. Key takeaway? Sustainability describes a state we are aiming to achieve, and circular economy gives us the tools to get there. 

Myth 5: Waste-to-energy is part of the circular economy

In many countries, incineration — the burning of waste such as plastics to produce energy — is viewed as a valuable pathway. But let’s be clear: Mass incineration isn’t part of a well-designed system. For example, in the case of plastics, taking an energy source (oil), turning it into an important material using more energy, used for a very short period of time, only to use more energy to turn it back into another form of energy, is not an example of a high-value process. There’s also increasing evidence that waste-to-energy plants can lock cities, regions and even countries into needing a steady flow of waste to make these plants economically viable — essentially creating a demand for waste rather than designing it out.

History tells us that a values shift is triggered by the creation of a new story of how we want to live. We need to make sure we’re telling the whole story of the transition to a circular economy because the opportunities for transformative change are abundant if we’re brave enough to step into the circle.

This article was written using resources created by the Higher Education team at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation which Jaine Morris contributed to. 

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Biden's rescue plan will give U.S. economy significant boost: Reuters poll – The Telegram

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By Indradip Ghosh and Richa Rebello

BENGALURU (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden’s proposed fiscal package will boost the coronavirus-hit economy significantly, according to a majority of economists in a Reuters poll, and they expect it to return to its pre-COVID-19 size within a year.

Biden has outlined a $1.9 trillion stimulus package proposal to jump-start the world’s largest economy, which has been at the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic having lost over 400,000 lives, fueling optimism and sending Wall Street stocks to record highs on Thursday.

Hopes for an upswing in U.S. economic growth, helped by the huge stimulus plan, was reflected in the Jan. 19-22 Reuters poll of more 100 economists.

In response to an additional question, over 90%, or 42 of 46 economists, said the planned fiscal stimulus would boost the economy significantly.

“There are crosswinds to begin 2021 as fiscal stimulus helps to offset the virus and targeted lockdowns. The vaccine rollout will neutralize the latter over the course of the year,” said Michelle Meyer, U.S. economist at Bank of America Securities.

“And upside risks to our…growth forecast are building if the Democrat-controlled government can pass additional stimulus. The high level of virus cases is extremely disheartening but the more that the virus weighs on growth, the more likely that stimulus will be passed.”

For a Reuters poll graphic on the U.S. economic outlook:

https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/polling/oakveynqovr/Reuters%20Poll%20-%20U.S.%20economy%20outlook.png

The U.S. economy, which recovered at an annualized pace of 33.4% in the third quarter last year from a record slump of 31.4% in the second, grew 4.4% in the final three months of the year, the poll suggested.

Growth was expected to slow to 2.3% in the current quarter – marking the weakest prediction for the period since a poll in February 2020 – amid renewed restrictions.

But it was then expected to accelerate to 4.3%, 5.1%, 4.0% in the subsequent three quarters, a solid upgrade from 3.8%, 3.9% and 3.4% predicted for those periods last month.

On an annual basis, the economy – after likely contracting 3.5% last year – was expected to grow 4.0% this year and 3.3% in 2022, an upgrade from last month.

For a graphic on Reuters Poll – U.S. economy and Fed monetary policy – January 2021:

https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/polling/azgpoljbkvd/U.S.%20economy.PNG

Nearly 90%, or 49 of 56 economists, who expressed a view said that the U.S. economy would reach its pre-COVID-19 levels within a year, including 16 who expected it to do so within six months.

“Even without the stimulus package, we had already thought the economy would get back to pre-COVID levels by the middle of this year,” said Jacob Oubina, senior U.S. economist at RBC Capital Markets.

“With the new stimulus package there will be more direct money in people’s pockets, easily boosting the economy, provided a vaccine rollout progresses in a constructive manner.”

But unemployment was not predicted to fall below its pre-pandemic levels of around 3.5% until 2024 at least.

When asked what was more likely for inflation this year, only one said it would ease. The other 40 economists were almost evenly split between “a significant pickup” and price pressures remaining “about the same as last year.”

Still, the core Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) price index – the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge – was forecast to average below the target of 2% on an annual basis until 2024 at least, prompting the central bank to keep interest rates unchanged near zero over the forecast horizon.

“I don’t think it will be an increase in underlying (inflation) trend, it is sort of a rebound in prices that have been depressed during the pandemic,” said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James.

(For other stories from the Reuters global long-term economic outlook polls package:)

(Reporting by Indradip Ghosh and Richa Rebello; Additional reporting by Manjul Paul; Polling by Mumal Rathore; Editing by Rahul Karunakar and Hugh Lawson)

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How Biden's Pandemic Plan Could Affect The Economy – NPR

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President Biden has outlined an aggressive plan to gain control over the coronavirus pandemic, which continues to weigh heavily on the U.S. economy.

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Renewed lockdown sends UK economy tumbling again: PMI – Cape Breton Post

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By Andy Bruce

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s relapse into a third national COVID-19 lockdown has sparked the sharpest drop in business activity since May, with services companies hit hardest, a survey showed on Friday.

A preliminary “flash” IHS Markit/CIPS UK Composite Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) fell to 40.6 in January, down from 50.4 in December.

The drop below the 50 threshold for growth was bigger than any economist forecast in a Reuters poll, which had pointed to a reading of 45.5.

In addition to the latest lockdown, data company IHS Markit said Britain’s post-Brexit shift to a more bureaucratic trading arrangement with the European Union had contributed to the decline.

“Services have once again been especially hard hit, but manufacturing has seen growth almost stall, blamed on a cocktail of COVID-19 and Brexit, which has led to increasingly widespread supply delays, rising costs and falling exports,” Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit, said.

The pace of job losses accelerated, after easing in December.

Economists polled by Reuters last week forecast a 1.4% fall in output for the first quarter. [ECILT/GB]

The official death toll from COVID-19 in the United Kingdom is nearing 100,000 and is currently the highest in Europe and the fifth worst in the world after the United States, Brazil, India and Mexico.

Britain is rolling out vaccines faster than many of its peers, which should bode for a swift economic rebound later this year.

Thursday’s survey showed companies were upbeat about their business prospects for the year ahead, with optimism hitting a 6-1/2-year high.

The PMI for the services industry, which accounts for the vast bulk of Britain’s private sector economy, fell to 38.8 in January from 49.4 in December, its lowest level since May and marking a third month of contraction.

Factories fared much better, despite fading growth in output and a renewed decline in order books. The manufacturing PMI fell to 52.9 in January from 57.5 in December, remaining above the 50 dividing line for growth.

(Editing by Toby Chopra)

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