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Philips: Doubling circularity to accelerate climate action

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The latest IPCC report on climate change makes it clear in the starkest of terms – humankind is running out of road. “We are on a fast track to climate disaster,” said United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres.

The world needs to transition to a low-carbon, sustainable economy that keeps the global temperature rise well below the 2 °C laid down in the 2015 Paris Agreement. And ideally below 1.5 °C. It is now or never if we are to avert the dire consequences of global warming. Greenhouse gas levels must start dropping by 2025.
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Understandably, the debate on how best to tackle climate change often focuses on emission-reduction and carbon-offsetting plans. Yet circular economy is a critical – though often overlooked – part of the discussion, as it addresses the linear ‘take-make-waste’ production model that still largely dominates the world’s economy and accounts for so much of global emissions.

Doubling circularity is one of the key mitigating strategies available to tackle climate change. At present, only 8.6% of global production is based on circular economy principles . Circular economic models that focus on the circulation of products and materials and design out waste could reduce global emissions by up to 40% [1]. Not to mention potentially making our social infrastructure and supply chains more resilient. A win-win all round.

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