UK experts to drive international circular economy push

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Parliament

The UK government has set out plans to establish a United Nations-backed international centre of excellence on sustainable resource management in the circular economy.

A coalition will be launched in April comprising experts from University College London, University of Exeter, Brunel University London, Swansea University and the British Geological Survey.

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It will be tasked with developing sustainable approaches to the circular economy and resource efficiency to enable carbon reduction and “transition to a greener future”.

Backed by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the panel will allow the UK to help other countries maximise the environmental and economic opportunities of circular economies.

The five participating institutions have together contributed £1.85 million to fund the centre’s technical activities, which will be co-ordinated by a government-funded research manager in Geneva.

The experts will explore circularity in areas such as metals, construction and critical minerals to develop effective data, technological innovation, finance models and policy.

Resources minister Robbie Moore said: “This is real recognition of the UK’s global leadership in sustainable resource management and testament to Britain’s world-leading academic expertise.

“We are delighted to host this centre, enabling our cutting-edge UK academics to develop the tools and research that will help countries across the world seize the opportunities of the circular economy, leading the way in the transition to a greener future.”

UNECE executive secretary Tatiana Molcean added: “Making the use of our resources more sustainable and moving towards a circular economy is fundamental to sustainable development and climate action.

“Partnerships mobilising international expertise play an important role in UN cooperation to develop and share best practices. I welcome the establishment of this new xentre of excellence, with its focus on circularity of metals, construction and critical raw materials.”