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Resources & Circularity

Policy ambitions and emerging business practices suggest a rapidly accelerating transition towards the circular economy, but meanwhile, our patterns of production and consumption and their devastating consequences, seem rather persistent. Transitioning towards circularity is not just about changing technology: it is about changing society.

 

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The circular economy: politicians, policymakers, CEO’s and entrepreneurs are outspoken about the needed shift, the possibilities and the benefits. This signifies an increasing sense of urgency around the unsustainability of the dominant linear models of production and consumption – and awareness of the need for alternatives. Global material consumption, inequality, depletion of resources and environmental degradation are however still on the rise.  To change the dominant line of thinking and doing, it is imperative to include the social dimensions involved in the transition to a circular society.

That is why we focus on the co-creation of circular systems of production and consumption that produce positive social, environmental and economic impact. We study how social resources are and can be mobilized to realize a circular society.

Issues of agency, power and equity are crucial for understanding and governing the systemic change towards a circular society.

DRIFTs transition approach provides a systemic understanding of the dynamics, patterns and challenges of the transition towards a circular society. We bring to light the intricate links between the material aspects of a circular economy and the human and social dimensions involved in the societal change process. Analysing the agency of different types of actors and the distribution of power provides insights on how such a complex change process can be accelerated in a more sustainable direction.