BSI launches circular economy standard
The standards company BSI, has launched a new standard for the circular economy, BS 8001:2017 in the face of competing demand for world resources.
Called a “Framework for implementing the principles of the circular economy in organizations,” the standard warns that “over the next 30 to 40 years unprecedented volatility and uncertainty seems likely. The global population is estimated to increase to around 8 billion by 2030, probably to over 9 billion by 2050, with increases in average wealth further raising the demand for products and services.”
As a result, it says, competition for land, water and energy could intensify while the effects of climate change are likely to become increasingly apparent, making the circular economy more important.
BSI explained that the ‘circular economy’ is a concept which challenges organisations to re-think how their resources are managed to create financial, environmental and social benefits.
In a statement, the organisation, based in Chiswick, London, said:
“BS 8001 was developed to meet these mutually beneficial goals, by providing guiding principles for organizations and individuals to consider and implement more sustainable practices. It is the first standard of its kind, both in the UK and globally.”
The standard notes that the circular economy is not a new concept.
“It blends the principles of multiple schools of thought, some of which date back to the 1960s.” And it goes on to explain in detail the history and principles of the circular economy and resource efficiency.
It emphasises that resource efficiency needs to be embodied within a circular economy approach. “Whilst resource efficiency and the circular economy are sometimes referred to interchangeably, there are some distinct differences. Resource efficiency does not necessarily challenge the linear model of consumption and production.”
The standards body added that the move to a circular economy is a “significant opportunity for businesses and organizations; by contributing to a resource efficient and low-carbon economy, costs and supply chain risks are reduced. Further benefits for businesses which choose to implement BS 8001 include improved resilience, new revenue streams, and enhanced corporate sustainability credentials.”
David Fatscher, head of sustainability at BSI, said:
“BS 8001 is a world first and further evidence that BSI, as the UK national standards body, is demonstrating leadership in developing knowledge solutions which address global challenges.
“Resource productivity is at the heart of the government’s new Industrial Strategy and demonstrates how standards can be considered business improvement tools which help organizations unlock the untapped potential of sustainable growth. BS 8001 was developed to enable organizations to take practical actions to realize the economic and social benefits of the circular economy.”
To support the framework, BS 8001 provides guidance around the specific issues surrounding the transition to a circular model – namely measurements, liability and insurance, logistical concerns, and materials. Guidance is also provided on specific associated business models, including leasing, the sharing economy, and remanufacturing.
And, the standard was also welcomed by the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management. “As members of the Drafting Group for the standard, we are delighted that it is now available for businesses of every size and type to use. Resource efficiency and circular economic practices are not just CSR buzzwords, they make real bottom line business sense,” said CIWM chief executive Dr Colin Church.