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WS 11: Creating Credible Metrics for the Impacts of Circular Business Models

Workshop Organiser: World Resources Insitute
Workshop Chair: Eliot Metzger, World Resources Institute
Date and time: Wednesday 25, 11h00 – 13h00
Room: 5


A transition to a circular economy holds immense potential for achieving important resource productivity breakthroughs. Much has been said about the economic benefits. Estimates put the value of investments in circular in the €100s of billions in regions like Europe—and as high as $1 trillion USD globally. But how do we know if we are realising the full environmental and social benefit potential?

Most urgently, how might we measure the impacts of emerging circular business models to know whether they are indeed proving to be a useful means of reversing resource overconsumption trends?

The World Resources Institute (WRI), together with many experts and stakeholders, are asking this question as follow up to WRI’s working paper Elephant in the Boardroom: Why Unchecked Consumption is Not an Option in Tomorrow’s Markets. Common, credible metrics are needed to “do the math” and mark progress toward priorities like Key Performance Indicators, Sustainable Development Goals, and Science Based Targets.

The aims of the WRI Workshop are to:

1.- Present research and early proposals for priority metrics that evaluate impacts of emerging circular business models; and

2.- Invite representatives from industry/business, academia, government, and civil society to review and contribute to next steps for shaping and scaling use of these metrics in key sectors.


· Eliot Metzger, World Resources Institute

· Deborah Drew, World Resources Institute

· Andrea Brown, World Business Council For Sustainable Development (WBCSD)

· Kate Meyer, Ecometrics


11h00 – 11h10 Welcome and Introductions

· Remarks and session overview from co-conveners at World Resources Institute and World Business Council for Sustainable Development

11h10 – 11h45 How do we know if circular is sustainable?

· Brief review of existing methods to measure impacts of business models

· Discuss gaps and challenges in using metrics to address unchecked consumption

· Review of recent research and emerging opportunities for better metrics

Featured discussants:

· Kate Meyer, Ecometrics

· Andrea Brown, World Business Council for Sustainable Development

· Deborah Drew, World Resources Institute

11h45 – 12h30 Concept in Practice: Developing a credible, common measurement approach

· Participants will work with a specific scenario and sector focus to explore the critical assumptions, data, and applications of metrics to measure circular business models.

12h30 – 13h00 How (and who) to take this forward?

· What companies and institutions will need to inform and embrace better metrics?

· Next steps for establishing common, credible methods and metrics