As major engines for economic growth, cities can drive the circular economy agenda forward.

By 2050, three quarters of us will live in cities. However, our urban centres are grappling with the effects of our current take-make-waste economy. Cities are where we:

  • consume 75% of our natural resources
  • emit 60-80% of greenhouse gases
  • produce over 50% of global waste

All of which require solutions.

A circular economy unlocks economic, environmental, and social benefits. Alongside Sustainable Development Goals and climate objectives, its implementation will support city leaders to deliver against their priorities, including housing, mobility, and economic development.

City exploration papers


Circular economy in cities

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An initial exploration

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The role of digital technology

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The implementation of a circular economy provides an opportunity to rethink how we make and use the things we need. It allows us to explore new ways of ensuring long-term prosperity that is not detrimental to our natural resources and wellbeing.

City governments are important actors in the transition to a circular economy. In March, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation will launch Circular Economy in Cities, a suite of easily accessible online resources for pioneering cities.