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Circular Economy


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The use of material resources has increased more than ten times since 1900 and is set to double again by 2030.  

The UNECE region is a major user and producer of natural resources. Their production and consumption require enormous energy and leads to environmental degradation and increased vulnerability to climate change. Transitioning to a more circular economy and sustainable use of natural resources is therefore crucial for the region.

UNECE provides a variety of tools that can facilitate the widespread adoption of this approach. This shift offers a unique catalyst for cross-cutting SDGs progress, accelerating the move to greener and more resilient economies needed to recover better from the COVID-19 crisis.

In focus

UNECE launches a compendium to support micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises in their efforts to embrace circular economy models

Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) account for over 90% of registered enterprises in the UNECE region, spreading from North America to Central Asia. They hold immense potential to drive the transition towards a circular and green economy due to their agility and localized operations. However, they often face challenges such as limited access to finance, lack of technical knowledge, and regulatory and procedural barriers.

To support MSMEs’ efforts to embrace green and circular economy principles and engage in sustainable trade, UNECE has developed a compendium of resource material. Read more


Podcast: One world, zero waste? The circular economy explained

We only have one planet, but we are using up its resources at an unprecedented speed. With mounting pressure on the environment, the challenge today is to tackle waste and pollution, speed up climate action and keep the economy prosperous at the same time. To achieve this, the idea of a ‘circular economy’ is increasingly being embraced by political leaders, businesses, and citizens.  

But what does it mean in practice? From energy to forests, and from food to cars and clothing and beyond, UNECE's podcast "One world, zero waste? The circular economy explained" explores some of the key challenges and opportunities. Listen on Soundcloud or your favourite audio streaming platform.


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