Establishing a circular economy in Australia presents a massive $2 trillion opportunity according to accounting and consulting firm PwC, with significant environmental benefits to boot.
Sticking with a linear economy could cost Australia almost $2 trillion in forsaken economic benefits over the next twenty years, while transitioning to a circular economy might not only realise these gains but also prevent over 150 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from escaping into the atmosphere annually by 2040 – roughly around the time that global demand for gas is expected to peak. With net-zero emissions targets then just around the corner, it seems like a no-brainer to make the switch.
The figures are courtesy of professional services firm PwC, which in its latest modelling believes Australia could generate up to $1,860 billion in direct economic benefits through to 2040 by adopting a circular economy, and in doing so potentially shave 165 million tonnes of CO2 from the nation’s footprint per year by that time. Doing so however, and fully realising the economic and environmental potential, will require a concerted effort and the need for early progress.
Drilling down further (or preferably not as is the case), of the high priority opportunities highlighted by PwC with respect to circular practices in the building sector, such as district cooling and modular construction, simple high value recycling and the reuse of modules could again reap the greatest rewards, a huge ~$485 billion across the twenty-year time-frame. As it stands, around only two thirds of core construction waste is recovered, leaving plenty of scope for more.