International Trade And Circular Economy – Policy Alignment



Shunta Yamaguchi | OECD

Resource demand in the coming decades will substantially increase following the boost in global population and economic growth. This will lead to various environmental consequences including water stress, biodiversity loss, climate change and local pollution through the production, consumption and end-of-life management of these materials. These pressures call for the better utilisation of materials to sustain our economies and the planet.

To address the environmental concerns linked with materials use, several countries have started to adopt and implement “circular economy” policies to close material loops and reduce the demand for primary materials. These policies are closely related to resource efficiency and sustainable materials management policies. The circular economy concept aims to transform current linear economic models into circular models that extend the life of products, promote reuse, repair, refurbishment, remanufacturing, and recycling, and exploit the potential of the sharing and services economy. These circular approaches would gradually reduce the consumption of finite material resources and also limit the associated negative environmental effects arising from the use of materials throughout their lifecycle. Economic and social benefits are also main objectives for countries aiming to implement circular economy policies, as they are for countries that focus more on sustainable materials management or on resource efficiency. This report focuses on the circular economy concept, but many – though not all – of the key insights from this report also extend to policy approaches to improve resource efficiency and reduce the environmental impact of materials use.

International trade and circular economy - Policy alignment

To read the full report from the OECD, please click here.