Circular World Index - For the sparing use of valuable resources

Our consumer society is not very sustainable. The consumption of resources is immense. Many people have realised that something has to change and that the transition to a circular economy should be completed as quickly as possible. The investment community has also long since recognized the opportunities of such a change. One result of this recognition is the Vontobel Circular World Index.

The consumer society and its dark sides

Astronomy has made enormous progress in recent years. Several thousand exoplanets are now known. ...but none of them have the same characteristics as Earth. Some of them are in the habitable zone, i.e. so far away from their star that water on their surface could be liquid and thus fulfil an important condition for life. The search for an Earth 2.0 is nevertheless continuing at full speed. But even if such a sensational discovery were to succeed, Earth 2.0 would hardly be accessible with the means at our disposal. Sooner or later we will have to accept that we only have this one earth at our disposal. Despite this certainty, humanity is anything but sparing with its home planet. In fact, considerably more resources are consumed than we would have available. Among other things, humanity creates enormous mountains of waste.

— These not only cause great damage to the environment, but ultimately also to us humans. Take microplastics, for example, which we ingest through seafood or sea salt. The world's oceans are filled with huge plastic swirls the size of a square kilometre. Incinerating the waste is not a particularly good solution. The methods of waste destruction usually cause ecological and health problems. At the same time, the incineration of waste leads to toxic gases and secondary waste, which the world and mankind will not be able to bear in the long run. The good news is that the realization that there can be no more like this seems to be slowly gaining ground. And not only since the Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg. In recent years, the topic of renewable energies has received an enormous boost. In addition, the immense mountains of waste caused by humanity should finally be tackled. Especially as in some parts of the world they take away space for people to live.

Some figures illustrate how serious the situation is. According to data collected by the TheWorldCounts initiative, today's consumption of resources is around 1.8 times what the Earth will produce in the long term. According to this, around 90 billion tonnes of biomass, fossil fuels, metals or ores are extracted from the earth every year. That makes more than 11 tons per person for the entire planet. It is not surprising that consumption in the developed societies of the Western world is significantly higher than in the emerging markets. At TheWorldCounts, consumer habits are primarily responsible for this development. Food, houses, cars, clothing or the transport system would swallow up enormous resources. However, there are already alternatives. These are being implemented gradually, so that the search for an Earth 2.0 does not have to be the only glimmer of hope for the continued existence of mankind.

Recycling management as a great opportunity

It is not often that mankind is in agreement on one point. One such case is the UN's ecological and social development goals, which all 193 UN members have committed themselves to achieving. It is a matter of finding ways and means to put an end to ecological and health problems as soon as possible. For this reason, technologies and disposal solutions are becoming increasingly important. It is not only at UN level that things are happening. The European Union is also aware of its responsibility. The member countries produce more than 2.5 billion tonnes of waste annually. This is another reason why waste management legislation is being updated. At the heart of this is the promotion of the transition from a linear economy ("throw-away economy") to a circular economy. The EU is far from being alone. In Switzerland, the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) is supporting the development towards a circular economy through the promotion of environmental technology and with the specialist unit for ecological public procurement.

— The model of recycling management prioritises the reuse of waste and the reduction of resource wastage in a sustainable, environmentally friendly and non-harmful way. In contrast to the disposable economy, in the circular economy materials and products should be shared, leased, reused, repaired, reconditioned and recycled for as long as possible. The aim is to extend the life cycle of the products. Of course, waste is also generated by the circular economy. However, this should be reduced to a minimum so that resources are conserved. The development in the direction of recycling management is supported by technological progress. Trends such as digitalization are additionally accelerating the technological development of the environmental service branch: State-of-the-art sensors and systems in the environmental service branch enable a lower consumption of resources while at the same time recycling waste and raw materials. The growth prospects of companies with appropriate technologies and established regenerative systems are therefore excellent.

Further information on the index and the corresponding actively managed certificates are available on

The full article published in Derinews is avaliable in German




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