What are the NDCs?
Source: UNFCCC

The Paris Agreement and NDCs

2015 was a historic year in which 196 Parties came together under the Paris Agreement to transform their development trajectories so that they set the world on a course towards sustainable development, aiming at limiting warming to 1.5 to 2 degrees C above pre-industrial levels. Through the Paris Agreement, Parties also agreed to a long-term goal for adaptation – to increase the ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change and foster climate resilience and low greenhouse gas emissions development, in a manner that does not threaten food production. Additionally, they agreed to work towards making finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development.

Nationally determined contributions (NDCs) are at the heart of the Paris Agreement and the achievement of these long-term goals. NDCs embody efforts by each country to reduce national emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change. The Paris Agreement (Article 4, paragraph 2) requires each Party to prepare, communicate and maintain successive nationally determined contributions (NDCs) that it intends to achieve. Parties shall pursue domestic mitigation measures, with the aim of achieving the objectives of such contributions.

What does this mean?

The Paris Agreement requests each country to outline and communicate their post-2020 climate actions, known as their NDCs. Together, these climate actions determine whether the world achieves the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement and to reach global peaking of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as soon as possible and to undertake rapid reductions thereafter in accordance with best available science, so as to achieve a balance between anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of GHGs in the second half of this century. It is understood that the peaking of emissions will take longer for developing country Parties, and that emission reductions are undertaken on the basis of equity, and in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty, which are critical development priorities for many developing countries.
What is the circular economy?
The circular economy as a means to an end

The circular economy holds the promise for systemic transformation of our society, as its core tenants design out waste and pollution, keep products and materials in use and regenerate natural systems. However, the circular economy is also an action agenda with impact that extends beyond resource efficiency. As a multi-stakeholder model, its systems-thinking approach boosts capacity and capability to serve universal societal needs. This circular framework aligns with a vision of a more resource-aligned, people-centric future. But getting there will not be easy.

A full circular transition calls for creative innovation in systems design and rigorous collaboration across and within value-chains, plus among multiple stakeholders. Change may be difficult, but it is necessary. Closing the Circularity Gap serves the higher objective of preventing further and accelerated environmental degradation and social inequality. In moving the globe toward an ecologically safe and socially just operating space for mankind, the circular economy is a critical pathway.
How is the Gap measured?
Learn more about the societal needs and wants
Learn more about the societal needs and wants
Greenhouse gases (GHGs) and
temperature rise scenarios
~ 25 min to complete the story
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We are all failing people and planet...

To keep our world liveable and thriving, we need to double GLOBAL circularity from 8.6% to 17%

CIRCLE ECONOMY PRESENTS:
The Circularity Gap Report 2021
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Time is running out

Our current linear economy is firmly steering us towards a 3- to 6-degree temperature increase.

If we continue business-as-usual, we will emit 65 billion tonnes of Green House Gas Emissions (GHGs) in 2030.

Global warming shows no signs of slowing and the reality is that certain vulnerable cities and countries will face catastrophes that threaten much of the population.
Business-as-usual: 80 billion tonnes of GHG emissions
Swipe to see more!

Time is running out

Our current linear economy is firmly steering us towards a 3- to 6-degree temperature increase.

If we continue business-as-usual, we will emit 65 billion tonnes of Green House Gas Emissions (GHGs) in 2030.

Global warming shows no signs of slowing and the reality is that certain vulnerable cities and countries will face catastrophes that threaten much of the population.
Business-as-usual: 80 billion tonnes of GHG emissions

Time is running out

Even if all 194 countries that signed the Paris Agreement fulfil their emissions-cutting pledges,

the rise in temperatures is still forecast to hit 3.2-degrees this century.

Where the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) end, the Emissions Gap begins! Course correction will require a major, transformational gear-change and systemic thinking.
Business-as-usual: 80 billion tonnes of GHG emissions
All NDCs successfully implemented: 56 billion tonnes of GHG emissions
What are the NDCs?

Time is running out

This big shift is the circular economy.

Adding circular economy solutions to the NDC's allows us to keep global temperature rise well below 2-degrees.
Business-as-usual: 80 billion tonnes of GHG emissions
All NDCs successfully implemented: 56 billion tonnes of GHG emissions
When global circularity is doubled: 0 billion tonnes of GHG emissions
What is the circular economy?

Time is running out

Even if all 194 countries that signed the Paris Agreement fulfil their emissions-cutting pledges,

the rise in temperatures is still forecast to hit 3.2-degrees this century.

Where the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) end, the Emissions Gap begins! Course correction will require a major, transformational gear-change and systemic thinking.
Business-as-usual: 80 billion tonnes of GHG emissions
All NDCs successfully implemented: 56 billion tonnes of GHG emissions
What are the NDCs?

Time is running out

This big shift is the circular economy.

Adding circular economy solutions to the NDC's allows us to keep global temperature rise well below 2-degrees.
Business-as-usual: 80 billion tonnes of GHG emissions
All NDCs successfully implemented: 56 billion tonnes of GHG emissions
When global circularity is doubled: 0 billion tonnes of GHG emissions
What is the circular economy?
To understand how circular economy strategies can contribute to achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement; we first need to understand where we stand today and how material extraction and GHG emissions are linked.

So where do we stand?
Swipe to see more!
To understand how circular economy strategies can contribute to achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement; we first need to understand where we stand today and how material extraction and GHG emissions are linked.

So where do we stand?
Last year, Circle Economy's Circularity Gap Report revealed that:

our world is only 8.6% circular, leaving a massive Circularity Gap.

The outlook is grim. Just two years ago that number was 9.1%.

Humanity has breached two severe milestones:
The world is consuming 100 billion tonnes (Gt) of materials a year
It is 1-degree warmer
How is the Gap measured?
Last year, Circle Economy's Circularity Gap Report revealed that:

our world is only 8.6% circular, leaving a massive Circularity Gap.

The outlook is grim. Just two years ago that number was 9.1%.

Humanity has breached two severe milestones:
The world is consuming 100 billion tonnes (Gt) of materials a year
It is 1-degree warmer
How is the Gap measured?
Swipe to see more!
So how did we get here?

To satisfy all global needs and wants,

we emitted 59.1 billion tonnes of GHGs in 2019

To begin to reduce these emissions, we need to know where they come from.
The Circularity Gap Report 2021 presents an emissions x-ray, providing insight into  the emissions that arise from the extraction, processing and use of resources.

On the left of this graph you can find the GHGs linked to specific resource catagories.


Hover over the icons to read more about the resource types.

The Impact of the Circular Economy

Understanding that GHG emissions are directly linked to the way we extract, produce and consume, we urge the world to look beyond the narrow energy focus of current climate pledges.

By applying circular strategies to materials and emissions hotspots,
we can cut excessive material consumption, and thereby slash GHGs.


Below you can find more details about the impacts related to our societal needs and wants.
Learn more about the societal needs and wants

Interventions vortex
21 circular economy solutions

The emissions x-ray shows that we need to change the way we produce and consume materials and by doubling global circularity we could:

• Reduce global emissions by 39% by 2032
• Reduce total material footprint by 28% by 2032
• Ensure we steer well below a 2-degree temperature rise


The why is clear! The how remains the big challenge

By understanding the biggest contributors to GHG emissions, we can unveil the most impactful intervention points.

To guide impactful action we have developed Interventions Vortex. Highlighting the most powerful circular economy strategies that will help us double circularity by 2023.

So, how can these high-level interventions help guide action around the world tomorrow?

To see real-life results, circular interventions must be tailored to national pathways.

A key point here is the severity of current carbon inequality and how it has driven our world into the midst of a climate emergency. Over half (52%) of cumulative CO2 emissions over the last quarter century can be attributed to just the richest 10% of the globe, whilst the poorest 50% were responsible for only 7%, according to recent Oxfam research.

Building on the Circularity Gap Report 2020 we have uncovered the most impactful strategies within the three different country profiles: Shift, Grow and Build.

download the 2021 CGR report

Download
or read the Exec Summary
available in 12 languages
Keep scrolling to take action

take action

Make circularity a priority for your organisation and get key decision-makers on board with the ‘Circular Economy Briefing’ Toolkit

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The toolkits available here are most relevant for businesses, cities and countries. For other ways to take action and raise awareness of the issues discussed in the Circularity Gap Report, please refer to the resources further down on this page.
In order to download the toolkit, you need to select the type of organisation you represent from the menu above and fill in the corresponding form.

what can you expect?

This toolkit will guide you through a quick circular innovation process and help you develop a circular economy brief for your context. You will:

Understand where you are: Learn about the key issues circularity aims to address and get an idea of where you’re starting from

Know where you’re going: Sketch a preliminary vision of what the circular economy could mean for you

Learn from others: Find inspiration in and learn from the successes and failures of others

The toolkit also allows you to outline immediate next steps for action.

Get a sneak peek

What you will be working towards is a Circular Economy Brief: a briefing document for you to fill out along the way using the information from this toolkit.

The brief provides the building blocks for an evidence-based narrative narrative that illustrates why you should consider circularity and outlines key steps you can take to get started.

You can share it internally; adapt it to invite other departments and stakeholders along your journey; or you can also simply use it as a conversation-starter and host an event–internally or in public–to discuss the circular economy opportunity for your context.
See the Template

Encourage others to take action

Host a presentation
Share key messages from the Circularity Gap Report at your next event or meeting using the slide deck and speaker notes below.
Slide Deck
Spread the word
Download our social media and graphics kits to share key visuals from the Circularity Gap Report with your network.
Social Media Kit
Graphics Kit
Global 2021
Martijn Lopes Cardozo
CEO
Circle Economy
Governments are making huge decisions that will shape our climate future. They are spending billions to stimulate their economies after the Covid pandemic and they are committed to strengthening their climate commitments ahead of the Glasgow Climate Summit. Circular economy strategies hold the key to a resource-efficient, low-carbon and inclusive future.
Global 2021
Carlos Eduardo Correa
Minister of the Environment & Sustainable Development
Government of Colombia
The National Strategy for Circular Economy involves the joint work of producers, suppliers, consumers and other actors in production and consumption systems to develop and implement new business models that incorporate waste management, efficient handling of materials and changes in the lifestyles of citizens.
Global 2021
Kate Raworth
Author of the book Doughnut Economics
Senior Visiting Research Associate at ECI, University of Oxford
If humanity is to meet the needs of all people within the means of this delicately balanced living planet, it is essential for the linear, degenerative industrial systems that we have inherited to become circular and regenerative by design. Last century’s economic theories, models and policies were not designed to bring about this transformation: it is a challenge that belongs to our own generation. The Circularity Gap Report 2021 plays a key role here by providing highly valuable analysis, data, guidance and examples that build the necessary momentum for circularity in this critical decade ahead.
Global 2021
Frans van Houten
CEO
Royal Philips & Co-Chair of PACE
The Circularity Gap Report 2021 provides a clear and alarming view on the insufficient progress towards a circular economy. Decoupling economic growth from resource use is critical to mitigate climate change. I urge the global community to step up efforts and to adopt circular practices with urgency.
Global 2021
Børge Brende
President
World Economic Forum
The Circularity Gap Report offers not only a sober warning of the danger of climate inaction, but a clear map forward. Collaborative effort among government, business and civil society is necessary to scale the circular economy and drive down emissions. Only through collective investment in and commitment to circular practices can we shape a more sustainable, resilient future.
Global 2021
Stientje van Veldhoven
Minister for the Environment
Government of the Netherlands
The Circularity Gap Reports show the circular economy’s enormous emission mitigation potential and key role in achieving our climate goals, as well as the need for national and global action. We need systemic change in how we use our resources, that goes beyond recycling and incorporates new business models, design and metrics. In order to fully understand our progress and identify specific action areas, we need a variety of coordinated metrics, including the Circularity Gap Report.