Collaboration’s the Key for a Circular Economy

Nov 6, 2019 10:20 AM ET

Hundreds of leaders from business, academia, government, and nonprofits were greeted with this refrain at the start of the 4th annual US Chamber of Commerce Foundation (USCCF) Summit on Sustainability and Circular Economy. If you know anything about the USCCF, you know they exist to unite the public, business, and communities through thought-provoking dialogue that inspires action toward creative solutions. The summit achieved this, and more.

Until now, leaders from across industries and sectors have grappled with the implications of a circular economy, and more critically, how we achieve one. While there is no silver bullet or obvious answers, one thing is certain—because the system is complex and the needed solutions range across geographies, cultures, and levels of infrastructural development, collaboration is essential.

A truly circular economy is one where waste and pollution are all but eliminated, products and materials are reused or regenerated, and the liquidation of natural capital occurs at a sustainable scale. While the circular economy takes into account all types of material waste—solid, liquid, and gaseous, such as carbon emissions—a major focus, in general and at the summit, has been on plastics.

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