Manufacturing of the future has already begun and it has the potential to reduce the impact on the environment while creating jobs and wealth.
Imagine a business model that can reduce the need for the extraction of raw materials, reducing the amount of energy and water needed to produce and at the same time create jobs at different levels of training. The model already exists and is likely to become the new global model of production and consumption.
The Circular Economy is a concept that is gaining strength every year. The term was first used in the 80s to contrast the linear economic model "extraction-manufacture-use-dispose" in which the raw material is used and discarded without concern for the environmental impact. In a circular model there are cycles of reutilization for products, parts and raw materials.
Reasons to adopt a different way of producing and consuming are being more apparent; today’s estimates show that attending current resource demands for goods and services would require approximately 1.5 planets Earth. In other words, we are essentially over-drafting or natural resources. Estimates show that, by 2030, the world’s middle class population will increase by 3 billion, totaling approximately 4.9 billion intense goods and services middle class consumers. Expanding the market without changing the model would create a demand requiring two planets Earth to sustain.*
*International Energy Outlook 2011", EUA Energy Information Administration.
From this perspective, the paradigm shift is not only desirable but becomes essential for businesses, governments and society as a whole in order to continue meeting their needs.