Any major metropolitan area like Auckland contains an economy with a wide range of businesses, from custom vinyl stickers to IT. Large cities, however, also generate quite a bit of waste, which is not only harmful for the environment, but also expensive to deal with.
With the world embracing sustainability, businesses and governments have now become more conscious about their operations, with ideas like ‘circular economies’ popping up across the world. Auckland would do well to take notice, according to a recently published report, which says that the sustainable model could inject at least $8 billion to the city’s economy.
According to the report made by the Sustainable Business Network (SBN) and Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED), the circular economy model, incorporating prefab housing, recycling and 3D printing, could bring in $2.5 billion to the construction industry. The report draws on research from across the world and applies the ideas to Auckland, with a particular emphasis on food, transport and constructed environments.
James Griffin, SBN Projects and Advisory Head, says that business and governments across the world were taking notice of the circular economy, a model aimed at increasing the lifespan of finite resources. He adds that he saw this as inevitable, as more and more are becoming aware of the fact that the rate of consumption people are at simply isn’t sustainable; there simply aren’t enough resources to continue with current methods and ideas.
Griffin describes a circular economy as one where materials have their life cycles maximized, their usage optimized, and, at the end of their life cycles, they are completely reutilized, regardless of whether they’re used for small custom vinyl stickers to infrastructure development.
According to data from the World Economic Forum, more than 50% of the world’s population live in cities, a number which is expected to go up to 70% by 2050.
The concept of the circular economy isn’t new, with the basic idea having been around in different iterations since the late 60s, though developments in recent years have allowed for the concept to be refined and, consequently, become more widely implemented.
The report says that short term actions can be done to help, like making waste management plans mandatory, as well as encouraging the use of prefab homes and electric vehicles.