(BRUSSELS)

In a word ‘opportunity’ – that is how Ellen MacArthur would sum up the circular economy.

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation which bares the legendary sailor’s name, exists to support businesses, cities, countries and regions enact the policies and initiatives needed to kickstart the redesign of the world’s economy.

By brining about “a systemic change in the global economy” so it is “designed where all materials can be recovered” the environment and economy would be transformed, Ellen told last week’s 10th annual Forum for the Future of Agriculture (FFA2017).

In a European context, the continent could generate €1.8 trillion from switching to a circular economy, according to the study: A Growth Within: A Circular Economy Vision For A Competitive Europe.

And looking at agriculture, the foundation found the use of chemical fertiliser could be reduced by 80% in a little over 30 years through the adoption of circular principles.

Speaking at FFA2017, Ellen said: “Current food systems are inherently wasteful, and increasingly challenged by rising demand and loss of soil productivity. Moving towards regenerative practices, underpinned by circular economy principles, would help create more value and rebuild natural capital.”

The FFA2017 event attracted 1700 high level stakeholders committed to accelerating the shift to sustainable agriculture and the protection of the environment. And the message was clear: take action. Work to deliver the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the COP21 Paris Climate Agreements.

Kofi Annan, Founder and Chair of the Kofi Annan Foundation, added: “Shifting to sustainable food systems and agriculture to feed the world and deliver wider goals of development demands sustained and bold leadership from every sector.”