• Guide
  • Oct 18, 2022

Leveraging a Circular Economy to Fast-Tract the SDGs – A Guide for an Integrated Approach

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, significant progress was being made with the implementation of the Global Goals, yet those efforts have not been actionable enough to achieve the 2030 Agenda. Moreover, according to the 2021 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Report, in some efforts such as lowering carbon emissions, progress has been severely hindered with some areas witnessing regression. The extent to which the achievement of the Global Goals has been derailed is not yet fully understood, but the report submitted to the Secretary General during the 2021 High-level Political Forum indicates that bold, urgent, and innovative measures are required to fast-track the progress of the SDGs.
The SDGs provide a comprehensive approach to creating a sustainable world. The SDGs offer a viable framework to transform the businesses to be a force for good and ensure long-term growth and success. At the same time, the circular economy model has gained increasing prominence as a tool which presents solutions to some of the world’s most pressing and crosscutting sustainable development challenges. The concept of a circular economy imagines a society where waste and pollution do not exist by design, products and materials are kept in use, and natural systems are regenerated. This idea helps address the root causes of our most pressing sustainability challenges and provides much promise to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
Though many overlaps exist between the SDGs and the circular economy frameworks, when considering solutions for sustainability challenges, the synergy between, and the potential of these two frameworks is not always clear. As such, the common practice among companies today is siloed reporting on corporate SDGs and circular economy initiatives.
UN Global Compact Network Canada recognizes the importance and potentiality of these two frameworks and has invited companies, who are utilizing the circular economy model and are committed to the SDGs, to collaborate in the function of a working group. Having outlined the following objectives, the participants worked to:
  1. Conduct a mapping exercise to establish how the circular economy principles complement the SDGs.
  2. Discuss the opportunities and challenges for the circular economy model as it relates to the SDGs.
  3. Identify solutions where companies contribute to their most applicable SDGs in addition to the circular economy principles, and d) highlight best practices to inspire further action for the applicable SDGs.