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Circular Economy study sees great potential

According to the study, a transformation of German society to a circular economy would have major positive effects on climate, resource and biodiversity protection.


In addition, the German economy would gain considerably in supply security and reduce its dependence on critical raw materials, as shown in the recently published study "Model Germany Circular Economy", which WWF Germany prepared together with the Öko-Institut, Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI and the Research Group Policy Assessment of the FU Berlin. According to the authors, the study, together with a policy blueprint, is intended to provide a scientific basis for the transition to a circular economy with concrete measures, instruments and impact assessments. The National Circular Economy Strategy was said to be the main focus of the study, but the experts' recommendations are also valid independently of it. The study comes to the conclusion that the overall societal benefit of a circular economy is significantly higher than the associated socio-economic costs of the transformation. "The circular transformation could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 26 percent and reduce resource consumption by up to 27 percent by 2045," says Siddharth Prakash, project manager and head of Circular Economy & Global Value Chains at Öko-Institut. "Reducing resource consumption and decoupling it from economic growth is central to keeping within planetary boundaries in the future. With the Model Germany, we provide important impulses for policymakers to shape a promising, sustainable and competitive economic structure." According to the study, with only five bundles of measures across all sectors examined, greenhouse gas emissions could already be reduced by almost 84 percent and 69 percent of raw material consumption avoided. For example, reduced housing and office space, less private transport, a more plant-based diet, more resource-efficient data centres and less consumption of textiles could save 186 million tonnes of CO2-equivalent emissions by 2045 if the study's measures were followed. Modelling based on the measures already adopted by policy makers had also been done in the study. Its results made it clear that these measures were effective - but also that they would not be enough. In all aspects, behaviour-based measures would have by far the greatest leverage effect indeed, but it was the policy that was responsible. Because: "The market alone will not fix it," explained Klaus Jacob of the FU Berlin at the presentation of the study. According to Jacob, strategies for resource conservation are only marginally effective. Rather, the strategies for resource use must be shaped. The authors of the study recommend that in the target year 2045, the consumption of raw materials per capita and year be reduced to 7 tonnes and the absolute consumption of raw materials to about 500 million tonnes.
Further information: to download the study on the WWF website (in German)

  • (August 16, 2023)
  • Kunststoff Information (August 17, 2023)
  • Photo: © WWF (excerpt from the title of the study brochure)

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