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Looking beyond the current industrial model, a circular economy aims to redefine growth. It entails decoupling economic activity from the consumption of finite resources, and designing waste out of the system, which is underpinned by a transition to renewable energy sources.

The principle behind a circular economy is that all goods and materials should be valued and recirculated within the economy for as long as possible. This is easy to agree with but more difficult to put into practice. The internalisation of external costs means that production needs to include the cost of better design, and managing and extending the life of goods and materials. Making the transition to a circular economy is an important goal for a sustainable society. Yet the complexity of such an undertaking means that no single industry can achieve it alone and ecosystem-wide change is needed.