The need for transition to a circular economy has never been more urgent. More than 100 billion tons of resources enter the economy every year—everything from metals, minerals and fossil fuels to organic materials from plants and animals. Just 8.6% gets recycled and used again. Our use of resources has tripled since 1970, and could double again by 2060 if business continues as usual. We would need 1.5 Earths to sustainably support our current resource use. This rampant consumption has devastating effects for humans, wildlife, and the planet.
Investing in a circular economy will be crucial to helping us realize the social, environmental, and economic benefits of the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement, as well as to build a sustainable economic recovery from COVID-19. But no single sector or organization can drive this transition alone. It requires systemic change across all sectors, with businesses, governments, and NGOs coming together in collective action on a global scale.
Collective action at scale can be accelerated by establishing an agreed upon vision with a common language and related metrics. This agreement can allow us to understand the current status on critical areas for action (count it), support new and greater actions (change it), and enable the focusing of resources and activation of new partners to maximize impact (scale it). Metrics are essential to defining and measuring progress and performance towards environmental, social, and economic impacts, and how circular economy approaches are making a tangible contribution to them. This publication focuses on key gaps in public sector metrics and provides opportunities for where action can be taken. Taken together with PACE’s Circular Business Metrics report, this report provides the first clear picture of the current state of play on how governments are approaching metrics for the circular economy.