Much of the concept of the circular economy involves words beginning with ‘re-‘: recycling, redesigning, reusing, refining, refurbishing and repairing – to name the most common descriptors. This has two main objectives:
Rather than downsizing the economic model, proponents of the circular economy predict it will create USD 4.5 trillion in market opportunities by 2030 – principally through new means of production, recycling and sharing. New technologies such as developing biodegradable plastics, as well as changing consumer preferences regarding longer lasting products, are seen as major drivers.
In order to capitalize on this trend, RobecoSAM founded its Circular Economy Equities strategy in January 2020 to target those companies that are contributing towards this concept. It does so through four clusters: redesigning inputs, enabling technologies, implementing circular use, and looping resources, as shown in the graphic below:
The move towards a circular economy is becoming more urgent as increasing urbanization, a rising hyper-consuming middle class and a global population approaching 10 billion, create unsustainable pressure on resources and waste management. According to the European Union’s Circularity Gap Report 2020, only 9% of the current world economy is circular.