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Dutch city to create thousands of jobs through circular economy initiatives

Date: 23-Sep-19
Author: Liam Taylor

Rotterdam has become a world leader in sustainable urban design, with the circular economy a key focus. Image: Jurriaan Snikker/Unsplash © Jurriaan Snikker/Unsplash

Rotterdam has become a world leader in sustainable urban design, with the circular economy a key focus. Image: Jurriaan Snikker/Unsplash

Governments around the world are elements of the circular economy to address environmental issues, but one city is proving such moves are also good for the economy. 

Rotterdam, the second-largest city in the Netherlands, recently released its Circular Rotterdam report looking into the opportunities for job creation in the zero waste economy they are transitioning towards. The report found that the circular economy initiatives being implemented could create over 7,000 jobs within a decade, with IT services, product design and supply chain logistics being the key areas of growth.

The “circular economy” is quickly becoming the guiding force for sustainability efforts around the globe. Our current economic model is mostly linear: take, make, dispose. We extract materials, use these to produce something, then at the end of the product’s useful life we throw it away. But this is not how nature works and not how we can live on a finite planet.

Circularity is how nature works. Before complex human systems, the planet was already functioning in a fully circular manner where its infinite cycles (water, carbon etc.) produced no such thing as ‘waste’ as resources were kept within cyclical flows. Thus, a global movement towards the circular economy has arisen as we have become more aware of our impact on the planet and the need to protect our finite resources. 

The circular economy can therefore be defined as a new economic model for addressing human needs and fairly distributing resources without undermining the functioning of the biosphere or crossing any planetary boundaries. Pioneers are reconfiguring and disrupting the way we think about delivering the goods and services; shifting the way we extract, make, consume and repurpose the material in our products to ensure emissions are reduced and resources are efficiently used and kept in circulation as long as possible.

Job creation will be a key motivator for cities and other jurisdictions looking to implement circular principles, making the results of the Circular Rotterdam report highly interesting for policy-makers.


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