The Circular Economy has the Business Case, the “Take Make Break” Linear Economy Approach not

Cornis vander Lugt
Cornis vander Lugt

Davos, 15 October 2015 Over 600 participants from 108 countries ended the 2015 edition of the World Resources Forum on a high note. Circular economy and resource efficiency concepts hold exceptional gains for the economy, jobs, social equity and the environment. As business is waking up to the fact that resources run out and commodity prices go up, it becomes increasingly important to decouple economic growth and human wellbeing from resource extraction. Societies need to make the turn to adequate technological, fiscal, and legislative frameworks. Financial actors need to be exposed to new business models and foregone opportunities. The true cost and value of natural capital should be widely understood. Lifecycle information needs to be included in product design, marketing and pricing decisions. Awareness building on all levels is important to build trust and empower consumers.

(left to right) Dianne Dillon-Ridgley, Peter White, Jocelyn Bleriot

Stepping up worldwide investments in recycling facilities is key and economies have to be based on performance rather than on material goods. It is good to realise that 75% of the infrastructure that will be needed in 2050 does not exist today, which is a huge opportunity to start now. A diverse set of investors, such as corporations, impact investors and socially-driven venture capital funds are actively looking for quality investment opportunities in sustainable consumption and production, but are unable to find them due to communication and visibility issues. The creation of regional investment platforms that would showcase sustainable businesses and match them with financing offers can lead to mainstreaming investment in resource efficiency. As Dianne Dillon-Ridgley (Interface/CIEL) stated “When I get asked what is the business case for sustainability, then I turn it round and ask what is the business case for destroying life on earth!”

Femke Groothuis, Ex'tax
Sanna Due-Sjöström, Nordic Waste Group

Governmental and non-governmental delegates, including business representatives from World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the Nordic Waste Group, the European Institute for Innovation and Technology (EIT) and big and small and medium sized companies working in developed and developing countries were among the delegates and experts who debated on circular economy and international resources governance. UNEP’s International Resource Panel, UNIDO’s Global Network on Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production, the Factor X-Club and the ISO Workshop on Guidance Principles for Addressing Sustainability Criteria in Secondary Resource Management were major events held back to back with the WRF. A chairman’s summary, holding the findings of the plenary sessions and the over 30 workshops of the event will be drafted and distributed in the weeks to come.

20151013-115924-DSC_7038-final-smallThis year’s WRF conference, held in the Swiss mountain resort Davos, was hosted by the Swiss government (Federal Office for the Environment) and supported by a wide range of governmental, business and non-governmental organisations. A total of 700 tons CO2 emissions primarily resulting from participants travel will be compensated by supporting a community development forest project in Zimbabwe. Not less than 70% of the participants chose for a vegetarian menu, “nudged” to that decision by offering vegetarian as default.

The Costa Rica Ambassador in Switzerland, Isabel Montero de la Camara, announced the organisation of the first Latin American Resources Forum, to be held in St. Jose, 16-18 May, 2016, in cooperation with the WRF Secretariat and UNEP. The next European Resources Forum is scheduled for Berlin, 9-10 November 2016, followed by a German Resources Forum, both organised by the German Federal Environmental Agency. The first Nordic Resources Forum will be held in Helsinki, 6-8 June 2017, organised with the Finnish Innovation Fund SITRA and others.

Photos of the event (made by Robert Stuermer Photos, St. Gallen) are posted on the World Resources Forum Facebook page. Photos can also be viewed without a Facebook account. Click on the links to see Photo Gallery Day 1, Photo Gallery Day 2, Photo Gallery Dinner and WRF Party, and Photo Gallery Day 3.

A “tweeting report” can be found on the WRF Twitter page, hashtag #wrf2015.

Find here the full program of the event, all plenary presentations and workshop reports coming soon.

For more information about WRF 2015 and future conferences write to

(from left to right: Bas de Leeuw, WRF participants, flying marmot)
(from left to right: Bas de Leeuw, WRF participants, flying marmot)