New research by ReLondon, in collaboration with Valpak, reveals the potential economic growth and job prosperity possible over the next decade, if London’s businesses, policymakers and communities work together to adopt a circular economy and achieve the targets outlined in the Mayor’s Environment Strategy.
By clearly defining the different ways jobs can be circular and including all the sectors that can contribute – either as core circular businesses or from those directly or indirectly supporting core businesses – ReLondon’s modelling shows that circular economy can deliver not just substantial environmental gains but also make a significant contribution to job creation and economic growth.
If the city meets the Mayor of London’s waste and recycling targets to prevent 450 thousand tonnes of waste and increase the municipal recycling rate to 65%, 284,000 new circular jobs could be created – over and above the existing 231,000 circular jobs London has currently.
New jobs will be driven by increased public demand for planet-friendly products and services; by new business approaches like sharing, renting or leasing products instead of buying new, reusing and recycling materials in new products; by providing refill and repair services across the capital; and by the waste sector collaborating with businesses and local authorities to recirculate 1.1 million tonnes of material, helping everyone in the economy to waste less and reuse, repair, share and recycle more.
With less than six months to go until COP27, ReLondon is calling for all those acting on the climate emergency to recognise the role that circular economy can play in tackling the 45% of global greenhouse gas emissions associated with our consumption of food, goods and services – but also to recognise the double dividend it provides in terms of good quality jobs at every level; as well as the urgent need for investment in skills, training and qualifications to support businesses as they transition to circular business models.
As a first step the organisation is encouraging all businesses to get involved in their fifth annual Circular Economy Week. #CEWeek2022 is a showcase of inspiration and celebration to grow the circular economy in London. Sponsored by Cleveland Steel and Tubes and the London Environment Directors’ Network (LEDNet), #CEweek2022 will cover a broad range of topics, sectors and materials but this year will particularly focus on the role that the circular economy can play in helping a green recovery following the pandemic.
Victoria Lawson, chair of the London Environment Directors’ Network (LEDNet), said, Investing in greener, more circular economies brings huge opportunities for local places, people and businesses. This report confirms what we are seeing on the ground through our work – that collaboration between communities, businesses and local authorities to reduce waste can support green economies, jobs and skills for local people.
“Collective leadership and partnership working is absolutely critical to delivering the shift we need towards net zero and stronger, greener economies – whether that’s collaboration across borough boundaries via LEDNet, with partners like ReLondon, or cross-sector working with community groups, local businesses and academia. We are proud to be supporting and partnering with ReLondon on Circular Economy Week, to further promote and spread the benefits of circular economies in London and beyond.”
Shirley Rodrigues, Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy said, “Tackling the climate emergency presents a significant opportunity to create new jobs and support businesses driving the transition to a resource-efficient circular economy. The Mayor is supporting this through the Green New Deal fund and his Green Skills Academy which includes a focus on skills which drive activity towards the circular economy and circular jobs.
We very much welcome this research by ReLondon, anticipating the potential for a more circular economy to create over a quarter of a million net new jobs for Londoners by 2030. This would also support a reduction in waste in line with the Mayor’s aim for London to be a zero waste city and net zero by 2030.”