Click the link below to receive updates on our circular economy initiative and be notified of future opportunities to get involved.
The extraction, manufacturing and production of materials is responsible for around 45% of global greenhouse gas emissions. A 2019 Ellen MacArthur Foundation study showed that moving to renewables can only address 55% of these emissions, indicating that the 1.5°C target of the Paris Agreement can only be achieved by combining current efforts on renewable energy and energy efficiency together with circular economy approaches. The circular economy is therefore a powerful solution for meeting long-term policy objectives related to climate change. It can also reduce supply chain risks and short-term supply shortages by requiring less material input and by establishing local secondary material supply.
In the transition to a circular economy, infrastructure has a dual role to play, in (1) integrating circular economy principles into infrastructure itself, and (2) building infrastructure that supports circular economy activity.
The G20’s Infrastructure Working Group (IWG) has identified sustainable infrastructure as one of its priorities, and circular economy is a topic that will be covered under this agenda. To support the G20's priorities, the GI Hub commenced an initiative to examine the role that infrastructure can play in the transition to a circular economy. This includes:
This web page highlights the work done under the GI Hub's circular economy initiative to date.
A circular economy is an economic system that organises production, supply and consumption of materials into closed loops, thereby reducing the pressure on the world’s finite materials and natural resource depletion. The circular economy transition is centred around the 6R principles for circularity: refuse, reduce, reuse, repair and refurbish, recycle, and residual.
The circularity diagram for the 6R principles was adapted from PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency Outline of the Circular Economy (2019).
In preparing our thought piece, The Role of Infrastructure in the Circular Economy, for the G20, the GI Hub asked industry experts to outline what they believe the turning point will be for a circular economy.
In Europe, it is estimated that the circular economy has added around 3.5 million jobs, around €126bn of economic value and mobilised private finance of around €15bn. Furthermore, it has been observed to empower lower income groups and support economic productivity.
- European Commission 2018 and Ellen MacArthur Foundation 2020
The GI Hub's thought piece identified six opportunities for infrastructure in the circular economy:
To effectively implement these infrastructure opportunities at scale, significant systemic change and technological innovation will be needed. The thought piece uncovered key elements of transition, which policymakers should contemplate. These include:
Transition pathways will differ by country, as the pathways will be influenced by a range of economic and demographic factors. This presents both a challenge and an opportunity for policymakers. The challenge is that a uniform approach to circularity will not be possible. The opportunity is the significant benefit that can be derived through international collaboration, particularly in developing innovative blended financing solutions for infrastructure circularity in upper-middle and lower-middle income countries.
The GI Hub invites participation in our circular economy workstream. We see this thought piece and the subsequent workshop and roadmap as just the beginning of a journey in the transition towards a circular economy. The aspiration beyond these deliverables is for the G20 to continue the policy dialogue in collaboration with international organisations and industry stakeholders, and to agree on priority areas of focus in the coming months. The GI Hub encourages those interested in being part of this engagement to contact us and get involved.
Contribute to the circular economy roadmap
In June 2021, the GI Hub is releasing a circular economy roadmap to provide high-level guidance on how to transition infrastructure towards a circular economy. If you are interested in being part of this engagement, contact our Director of Thought Leadership, Monica Bennett.
Contribute case studies on green and circular economy funding and financing
Further work is underway to expand the case studies that form part of GI Hub’s Innovative Funding and Financing tool. The tool is designed to help governments understand their options, identify frictions in their markets, and access solutions to improve the quality and quantity of projects attractive to private sector investors. If you would like to submit your own case studies to share with the G20 IWG, please click here and select the option to 'Suggest a resource or case study.'
The Global Infrastructure Hub (GI Hub), working with the World Economic Forum (WEF) and Boston Consulting Group (BCG), conducted a scenario-planning exercise to understand how a collection of 25 transformative trends—megatrends—could reshape the infrastructure industry in the future. The exercise involved surveying more than 400 practitioners across 70 countries on the certainty of direction, scale of impact and level of preparedness for the megatrends. The output of this exercise resulted in three scenarios and a set of implications for the infrastructure industry.
GI Hub’s Innovative Funding & Financing tool is designed to help governments identify frictions in their markets and structure solutions to improve the quality and quantity of projects attractive to private sector investors. It contributes to the G20's Roadmap to Infrastructure as an Asset Class.