The Transition to a Circular Economy


The Need for a Circular Economy

Faced by the complex challenges of global population growth, increased material consumption and the effects of climate change; the concept of the circular economy has become a prominent feature in the thinking for governments and businesses alike. There is a growing recognition for the need for a transition from our current linear take-make-waste economy, towards one which is regenerative by design; reusing, restoring or recycling ‘waste’ into a useful and valuable resource. 

Initiatives are being taken worldwide to help frame the transition to a circular economy. For example, in 2018 the EU revised, finalised and published its Circular Economy Package (first put forward in 2015), to help drive the transition to a circular EU economy. Significant effort has been given to a strategy for tackling plastic waste, methods for monitoring progress and stressing the importance of extended producer responsibility. Meanwhile, in the UK the BS: 8001:2017 standard has been established, which provides a framework for companies wishing to implement circular economy strategies.

Laying the foundations

Businesses globally are positioning themselves to begin their journey towards a circular economy. Some businesses have already made significant progress, through incorporating ‘circular’ principles into their top-level, long-term, objectives and through business model innovation; making progress towards closed-loop systems that are less reliant on virgin materials. In doing so, such businesses are limiting their exposure to volatile commodity prices and future-proofing their supply chain from the effects of climate-change. 

Most companies, however, remain at a very early stage in their development as a viable player within a circular economy. They are working to understand the concept more intimately, including how it is applicable to their industry and how it could bring long-term benefits to their business. Some companies are making headway by addressing the most fundamental requirements of a circular economy, notably, through removing unnecessary waste generation and disposal, and increasing material reuse, recovery and recycling within their operational boundaries. In line with this, we have observed a huge growth over the last few years, in the number of companies adopting targets to send ‘zero waste to landfill’ or ‘zero waste for disposal’, as well as targets to increase their operational recycling rates.

Our role in the transition

At Bureau Veritas, we recognise the complexity of the task at hand for creating a more circular economy, and the broad range of implications for businesses. With an experienced global network of sustainability professionals, we are able to offer a range of services, both advisory and assurance, to support clients at any stage of their journey towards a circular economy. We provide clients with advisory services on strategy, target setting and reporting. In addition, we offer bespoke zero waste to landfill/disposal services as well as the assurance of progress tracking against material use and waste indicators; helping companies to demonstrate their commitment to a circular economy practice to consumers, investors and other stakeholders.

Want to know more – Bureau Veritas Sustainability services

We offer a diversified portfolio of sustainability services for our clients, both advisory and assurance. If you want to speak to a member of the Bureau Veritas Sustainability team to know more about our services and the circular economy, please email us at or call 0345 600 1828.

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