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Circular economy finance: Clear winner or risky proposition?

18 June 2020

Source: Journal of Industrial Ecology

Paul Dewick
Magnus Bengtsson
Maurie J. Cohen
Joseph Sarkis
Patrick Schröder

A major shift in private and public investment is needed to forge a transition to a circular economy. A recent surge of activity from policy makers, the financial industry, and other stakeholders suggests commitment and progress toward providing resources to facilitate this process. In this forum article, we provide a measured, and in some respects critical and corrective, assessment of these developments. We highlight the risk that progress toward a circular economy will be curtailed by strategic decisions based on contestable understanding, fuzzy indicators, and inadequate information. Before major industry actors implement international investment standards, launch innovative financing vehicles, and ramp up investment, we call for more effective oversight to prevent the circular economy from becoming yet another compromised and ultimately ineffectual sustainability concept.