A new economic paradigm which is regenerative by design
The transition to a low-carbon, circular economy is both necessary and inevitable. A systems’ approach or metabolic analysis tells us where the opportunities are, and confirm that the many inspiring examples out there, still only show a glimpse of what is actually possible.
Merging a top-town system’s approach with bottom-up anecdotal evidence
Understanding the circular economy opportunities in a jurisdiction or company, requires merging a top-town system’s approach with bottom-up anecdotal evidence. Shifting Paradigms relies on a metabolic analysis to map out the systems flows, conversions and stocks of materials and energy. Rather than looking at the individual elements of a linear “take-make-waste” supply chain and aiming for incremental improvements, we focus on the systemic opportunities which can drive systemic change.
The systems’ analysis is combined with information on the socio-economic, cultural and spatial context, with anecdotal evidence on existing circular economy initiatives and with regional development ambitions. By preference, Shifting Paradigms collaborates with in-country experts, supporting them with trainings on the circular economy, systems’ analysis data collection and visualisation, circular design, business models, finance and policy.
Circular climate change mitigation
Climate change is a remnant from the linear economy. Since 67% of global greenhouse gas emissions are related to material management, resource efficiency and low-carbon development should be looked at in parallel. Reducing the material footprint of an industrial cluster or jurisdiction, will reduce emissions all the way down the relevant value chains, to reach even the fields, forests, wells and mines from which our raw materials originate.
Emissions embodied in international trade represent over 30% of the greenhouse gas footprint of countries. While this emphasises the importance of international cooperation on climate action, it also exemplifies that reporting on territorial or on-site emissions only reveals part of the mitigation leverage which a government or company can have. Defining influence or responsibilities to go beyond factory gates or national borders, enables us to formulate a development perspective that targets the system as well as its individual elements.
Circular economy offers a promising set of strategies to redefine development through the lens of metabolic efficiency. Data visualisation is an important means to support stakeholders with understanding the metabolism of their organisation or jurisdiction, set priorities and see the circular economy opportunities for low-carbon development, which are still too often overlooked. In addition to decarbonising our energy system, this includes the substitution of carbon intensive materials, improvement of resource efficiency and making better use of existing assets.
Shifting Paradigms is grateful to be backed by the skilled and passionate individuals from the partner organisations that we enjoy working with. Without them, it would be impossible to operate in such a broad range of sectors and geographies.