Circular bioeconomy: Now worth $3 trillion business with 117 million jobs

The success of circular bioeconomy relies on the combination of advanced technology, innovation and traditional knowledge that can generate the business opportunity of worth $3 trillion with a capacity to accommodate 117 million employees.

There is no future for business as usual without circular bioeconomy. Our present economic framework apparently has successfully created phenomenal economic growth. Over the last 70 years, human welfare depending upon the distribution of wealth aggravated social inequalities and loss of natural resources. If this situation prevails, it will threaten the social and economic stability and, may cause a collapse of civilization.

There are some alarming facts which depict that system is not working. Over 70% of the global population is affected by rising economic inequalities. On the name of development, we are losing forests at an alarming rate of almost one football field of forests in six seconds. Additionally, there is severe degradation of land, almost one-third of the world’s land is severely degraded and more than one million living species are threatened with extinction. About $44 trillion that is almost half of the world’s GDP is on stake by such natural loss.

Recommendations to overcome the disaster

Reversing the situation requires profound changes in financial frameworks to secure the future of nature and flourish the economy. For instance, the sustainability in forest management can generate business opportunities with the worth of $230 billion and can create 60 million jobs by 2030. Shifting the economy to the resource-efficient models of the circular socio-economic system and circular energy can create 2.3tn in business opportunities and possess a capacity to generate 30 million jobs by 2030. Furthermore, working with nature and built sustainable environment system can generate the business opportunity of worth $3 trillion with a capacity to accommodate 117 million employees.

To accelerate the efforts to transform the existing economy and market into a climate and nature-friendly economy and market, His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales took a decisive step and established The Circular Bioeconomy Alliance with the clear goal to place nature at the centre of our economy.

I have been deeply encouraged by the number of scientists and practitioners who have come together to develop a 10-point Circular Bioeconomy Action Plan inspired by my Sustainable Markets Initiative and its Circular Bioeconomy Alliance,” His highness said.

“It is time for leaders, across all disciplines, to step forward, be bold in their ambition and demonstrate what is possible so that others can follow.”

Circular economy and circular bioeconomy

Circular bioeconomy is conceptualized as “an industrial system that is restorative or regenerative by intention and design. It replaces the end-of-life concept with restoration, shifts towards the use of renewable energy, eliminates the use of toxic chemicals and aims for the elimination of waste through the superior design of materials, products, systems and business models.”

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Whereas circular bioeconomy as an extension of the circular economy is conceptualized as “A circular bioeconomy offers a conceptual framework for using renewable natural capital to transform and manage our land, food, health and industrial systems, with the goal of achieving sustainable wellbeing in harmony with nature.”

The success of circular bioeconomy relies on the combination of advanced technology, innovation and traditional knowledge. Moving towards climate and nature-friendly economy not only means replacement of fossil energy resources, but it also means moving to fossil-free products, substituting carbon-intense products for lower-carbon alternatives.

An opportunity to tackle inequality

One of the significant challenges of the current era is to address inequalities and to establish equal prosperity together with jobs and infrastructure in depressed areas. The natural distribution of biological resources and difficulties in their mobilization and processing provide potential opportunities. In this context, We have a very good example of forest resources in Europe.  These resources occupy almost 40% of the land and are owned by 16 million forest owners. This sector includes around 400,000 small enterprises and supports the local population by providing over 3 million jobs. Acknowledgement of this socio-ecological infrastructure is helpful in redistributing wealth, jobs and infrastructure which in long run will ensure that we have human capital ready to take care of our natural capital.