MEPs, academics, campaigners and green groups argue in an open letter that Covid-19 recovery is an opportunity to create a circular economy.
Thirty leading politicians, academics, and environmental campaigners have urged governments crafting sweeping Covid-19 stimulus packages to eschew short-term carbon-intensive solutions in favour of those that establish a 'real circular economy'.
Green MP Caroline Lucas and Labour's Barry Gardiner joined executives from Plastics International, The Seahorse Trust, Fidra, Born Free Foundation, and the Forum for the Future to sign today's open letter, which was coordinated by campaign group the Real Circularity Coalition.
"As world leaders look to the economic recovery, short-term carbon-intensive solutions are not the answer," the letter argues. "Instead creating an economy where resources are only used if they are 100 per cent recyclable or reusable represents our best route to a better future."
The campaigners stressed that a sustainable economic system delivers huge economic benefits, noting that the European Commission has estimated that investing in a circular economy could generate 700,000 jobs over the next decade in Europe.
"Now more than ever before the future belongs to companies that work with nature, not against it," the letter reads. "The economic response to the crisis must be executed in line with our global sustainability goals and put green stimulus measures front and centre."
Some 744 million tonnes of waste go to landfill each year, according to the Real Circularity Coalition, and less than 15 per cent of all waste is recycled.
Real Circularity Coalition chair Lucy Siegle, journalist and campaigner George Monbiot, Professor Jeremy Faludi from Delft University of Technology, Professor Raimund Bleischwitz from University College London, and Professor Peter North from the University of Liverpool also participated in today's appeal.
The campaigners join a raft of other organisations, activists, and business alliances that have appealed to global policymakers to ensure that economic recovery efforts implemented in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic do not lock in carbon-intensive solutions and instead work towards global climate ambitions. Calls for the green recovery have ranged from the UK's government; its climate advisors Committee on Climate Change; Greenpeace; the United Nations; Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz and climate economist Lord Nicholas Stern; and a coalition of more than 200 British corporates.
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