NEW IUCN report on links between biodiversity and the circular economy
16 Jan 2023
IUCN Europe has issued a new report examining the links and policy gaps between biodiversity and circular economy concepts. Specifically, it focuses on EU policies related to the food, water and nutrients value chain, which is a key driver of land use change and biodiversity loss, and was highlighted in the EU’s Circular Economy Action Plan as a sector with high resource use and potential for circularity.
The report acknowledges the strong potential of the circular economy to achieve environmental targets, but also reflects that some theories or practices associated with the circular economy need to be carefully considered to ensure they do not pose a risk to biodiversity. For instance, a growing demand for bio-based materials to replace plastics can result in increased land use pressures and habitat losses, while a growing demand for timber as a sustainable building material may lead to a loss of primary forests or the plantation of monocultures.
As Alberto Schnell Arroyo, Senior Manager Policy and Programme at IUCN Europe, notes "The circular economy concept can undoubtedly be a great asset in transforming our production and consumption patterns and achieving environmental goals. However, we cannot take this for granted: some practices linked to circular economy, if not implemented with nature in mind, may potentially pose risks to biodiversity. To ensure we get the maximum out of the circular economy to help biodiversity, the two policy areas need to be more integrated."