On behalf of Future Earth, The Greening of Industry Network, International Forum on Sustainable Value Chains, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute:
“Over the past few months, we have justifiably focused on the public health dimensions of the COVID-19 pandemic which has already been dire in a number of countries and is likely to become more challenging as it continues its march around the world. We extend our deepest sympathy to colleagues on the frontlines of the outbreak, to people who have suffered losses, and to everyone subjected to profound disruption.
We also need to consider how the world will likely transform after the crisis. The Circular Economy and its many practices and principles may be primed for adoption and improvement in Post COVID-19 world. If we look a little further down the road, might there be emerging a window of opportunity to alter the trajectory of global development with respect to the circular economy so that it can become more equitable, inclusive, and environmentally sound?
This open forum was held on May 13, 2020 and discussed how to plan for a Circular Economy transition that is equitable, inclusive and more environmentally sound – especially with respect to climate change.
As the COVID-19 pandemic touches every aspect of modern society, it is becoming increasingly obvious that the slowdowns and shutdowns may inadvertently enable us to shape a new conception of prosperity and good livelihood. We may even come out of this unfortunate episode with renewed fortitude and commitment to work toward the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals – within an umbrella we have called the Circular Economy. And since we are all living through this unique moment, observing the responses by government, businesses, and ordinary people, it marks an opportune time to explore if these changes can provide leverage points for opening pathways to new developments that can help transform the Circular Economy principles into considering issues such as social justice, vulnerable population concerns, diversity, and climate change. Points of departure for this conversation might include:
- Planetary Thinking: Climate Action and the Circular Economy
- Technology for/against the Circular Economy
- Whose Circular Economy? Equity, Diversity, and Social Justice