Digital Circular Economy For Net Zero
86 Pages Posted: 25 May 2022
Date Written: April 22, 2022
The climate crisis requires that economies around the world achieve carbon Net Zero by 2050. However, average annual GHG emissions during the 2010s have continued to increase (albeit at a decelerating rate) relative to global emissions in the first decade of the 21st century (IPCC AR6). Most of the emphasis in climate policy has been on accelerating the transition away from fossil fuel energy supply, on reducing carbon emissions from production, and on decarbonizing investment and financial markets. In comparison, relatively little emphasis has been put on the consumption side. This report begins with the analysis of two possible ways to get to Net Zero: digitalization and a Circular Economy, both of which have recently emerged as essential if we are to reduce GHG emissions as efficiently and effectively as possible. This report further argues that the key to achieving Net Zero is in promoting both digitalization and Circular Economy under a new economic system that is aligned with Net Zero goals, and that is changing our consumption patterns to attain sustainability. To be able to attain the Net Zero goal the entire socio-economic environment - incentives, culture, and social norms must also be transformed. We propose a concept called the Digital Circular Economy to which society should move to get to Net Zero. We illustrate how such a transformation crucially depends on digital technology, of course, but also on adequate systems of socio-economic governance that induce both the most efficient and effective forms of digitalization and Circular Economy through five case studies of recent business and technology innovations.
Keywords: Carbon emission, net zero, digitalization, circular economy, governance, multi-level perspective, socio-technical system
JEL Classification: P00, Q40, Q55, Q58
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation