White paper: Circular economy, your digital path

Johannesburg, 08 Feb 2019
Read time 1min 20sec
Circular economy, your digital path.
Circular economy, your digital path.

The current levels of resource consumption and exploitation, in addition to expected increases in population, will likely lead to an irreversible environmental stress for the planet. This will impact the availability of food, drinkable water, clean air, and many other resources, with dramatic consequences for citizens, businesses and governments. Obtaining and paying for raw materials will become increasingly difficult (as they become progressively scarce), migrations and conflict will increase, and diseases will flourish. Our current mass production model, designed to meet a globalised economy, is a factor of increasing pressure on resources, with adverse effects on health and biodiversity.

The time is right for a circular economy, where products are designed to minimise reliance on non-renewable resources, taking a holistic view of both the supply and value chain, to maximise the lifespan of a product.

This white paper examines the principles of the circular economy and technological trends that could enable it. The study proposes a digital model for the circular economy and details some technology-driven business opportunities. Moreover, it reviews the necessary conditions for the circular economy's implementation, including challenges and potential preclusions, and reflects on its governance. Finally, as digitalisation is considered a springboard for the circular economy, the paper describes the technological building blocks, which could make it a reality.

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