WCEF+Climate: let’s keep the drumbeat going

In WCEF+Climate’s 20 virtual sessions, leaders from government, business and civil society from all corners of our planet committed to bold action, scaled up their commitments and shared best practices for a just transition to a circular economy. Never before have so many different groups come together to talk about the impact of a circular economy on climate action.

Representatives from governments around the world

Government representatives from the Netherlands, Finland, Ghana, Chile, Colombia, Aruba, Italy, Nigeria, Sweden, Kenya, Canada, Germany: WCEF+Climate was a truly global high-level event on the importance of the circular economy for climate neutrality in 2050.

Responsible business conduct is leaning towards investing in the circular economy.

H.E. Ms Sigrid Kaag, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, the Netherlands

Just the way we use & re-use products can account for up to 45 per cent of the emission reductions that we need.

H.E. Ms Carolina Schmidt, Minister of the Environment, Chile

Our hope is that Stockholm+50 will be a steppingstone in taking large steps forward in working with nature and the circular economy.

H.E. Mr Per Bolund, Minister for Environment and Climate and Deputy Prime Minister, Sweden

This is about their future

Representatives of global youth organisations had a seat at the table in multiple WCEF+Climate sessions:

Young people show us in so many different ways that they are fully capable of being a serious stakeholder in the circular economy and climate debate.

Aniek Moonen, board member of the Jonge Klimaatbeweging in the Netherlands

Co-creating a vision as youth around the world is an essential component of this debate.

Shikhar Argarwal, founder of We Are Tomorrow India

Youth need to find their entry point in this debate, as we are the future of tomorrow.

Celiwe Shivambu, Focal Point Climate Change working group of Youth@SAIIA

We value the opportunities presented by Stientje van Veldhoven, Kitty van der Heijden and Roald Lapperre to get a seat at the table and influence the policy debate around circular economy.

We Are Tomorrow Global Partnership

Partners and co-hosts

Several sessions were co-hosted by WCEF+Climate partners: the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the World Economic Forum, the International Resource Panel and the Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy (PACE). Check out the snapshot per session:

We have a lot of great commitments by the private sector and governments, but they’re not nearly enough. Taken together they only stem the flow of plastics into the environment by about 7%.

Janis Searles Jones, Chief Executive Officer of Ocean Conservancy during ‘Let’s Act: Integrating Decent Work in Effective Collection and Recycling of End-of-Use Plastics’

It’s not only a problem, if we keep talking about e-waste as a problem it will be only the domain of NGOs and governments. To engage the private sector, we need a more positive story, we need to create incentives that work for private entities and so a simple, engaging business model, a more positive approach will work.

Joost de Kluijver, Chief Executive Officer at Closing the Loop during ‘Let’s Act: Integrating Decent Work in Effective Collection and Recycling of End-of-Use Electronics’

We are seeing an incredible proliferation and fragmentation in initiatives around metrics, so we need to see greater coherence and a need to bring this into a framework that everyone finds credible and legitimate and ultimately uses.

Manish Bapna, Interim President and Chief Executive Officer of the World Resources Institute during ‘Measuring What Matters: Making Circular Progress Tangible’

There are continuous innovations that have the potential to disrupt the linear economy. We need to drive industry’s transformation.

Antionia Gawel, Deputy Head, Centre for Global Public Goods of the World Economic Forum during ‘Sparking Collaborative Circular Industry Innovation’

We need to account for the value of nature and to price externalities. Digitalisation has an important role to empower consumers with information and transparency. We need to give them the freedom to choose with the right signal.

Janez Potočnik, Co-Chair of UNEP International Resource Panel during ‘Why do Materials Matter for Global Climate Action?’

We support financial models that support green bonds and impact bonds with a circular label. Our role here is really to help the public sector finance the circular economy at scale.

H.E. Mr Mauricio Claver-Carone, President of the Inter-American Development Bank during ‘Let’s Talk about Money: The Role of a Circular Economy in the Climate-Finance Nexus

The circular economy market is taking off, with a steep increase in activity over the last two years in all corners of the financial sector.

Increasingly recognised as a crucial part of the solution to climate change and other global challenges, the circular economy also offers significant opportunities for new and better growth. Now is the time for the financial services sector to build on this momentum, scale the circular economy in collaboration with governments and corporates, and capitalise on the transition.

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation is delighted to be a partner of the World Circular Economy Forum (WCEF) 2021 in Toronto. The WCEF will build on the momentum behind a circular economy in North America and globally, and carry on vital discussions on the themes of Finance, Climate, Biodiversity, and more.

Michiel De Smet, Finance Initiative Lead, Ellen MacArthur Foundation

The United Nations at WCEF+Climate

Multiple UN organisations were present at WCEF+Climate to share their visions on the circular economy. Inger Andersen, UNEP Executive Director, about the conference:

Addressing the triple planetary crisis of climate change, nature loss, and pollution and waste is about reigning in unsustainable consumption and production, and keeping in circulation for as long as possible, the resources and materials we take from the planet. Everything has a life. Everything has a value.

The world has learned many lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic, but none more important than the fact that we must change the way we run our businesses and economies to work with nature, not against it. And such a shift, is a shift to a circular economy. A circular economy means a world where 9 million people each year do not die from pollution. A circular economy means a world where we don’t discard millions of tonnes of plastic into our oceans. And a circular economy is one where we don’t generate 50 million tonnes of e-waste a year.

I thank the government of Netherlands, under the leadership of Minister van Veldhoven for the energising and inspiring conversations at the World Circular Economy Forum. Bringing together people from sectors, the Forum exemplified the road ahead for us. A circular economy is a massive and ambitious undertaking. As with all environmental challenges we face, tinkering around the edges will not get us anywhere. Governments must provide policy signals; the finance sector must re-orient financial flows; business must change the way they do business and capitalize on opportunities; and consumers must be watchful of their footprints and vocal in demanding sustainable products and services. And the UN must commit to propelling a whole-of-society approach to making peace with nature. Now is the time for us to move full speed ahead towards a circular economy, one that ensures we avoid a broken planet and insurmountable debt.

Five CirculariTV shows in one visual!