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A Nervous Excitement: Embracing the Circular Economy for Sustainable Development

Materials.Business Newsletter ⚙️ September 12th, 2023

A powerful reason drives the global community today - the survival of our species. While planet Earth's existence is not under immediate threat, the sustainability of human life is at stake. As a result, the term "sustainable development" has gained prominence, along with other concepts like SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) and the Circular Economy (CE). However, this growing awareness carries risks, as many discussions and agreements abound, but actions remain insufficient.

In today's world, we witness a surge in environmental warnings, demanding practical responses. In this landscape, Corrosionists are called upon to act swiftly and contribute to charting a sustainable path for future generations.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Report 2023: Before delving further into the Circular Economy, let's interweave insights from the 2023 SDG report. This report emphasizes the urgent need for transformative action to achieve the SDGs. Halfway to 2030, our shared promise to secure the well-being of everyone on a thriving planet is in jeopardy. Progress toward the SDGs has been slow, with many targets off track or regressing. The report highlights alarming trends, such as persistent extreme poverty, hunger levels not seen since 2005, and the gender gap in legal protection. Additionally, it underscores the looming climate crisis, urging swift action to limit global temperature increases. Developing countries and vulnerable populations bear the brunt of these challenges due to historical global injustices.

The Circular Economy (CE) Explained: Returning to the topic at hand, the Circular Economy (CE) stands as a potent solution to address these pressing concerns. CE stands in stark contrast to traditional linear economic models, which involve resource extraction, production, use, and rapid disposal. In essence, CE is a new business strategy rooted in sustainable socio-economic development. While profitability remains a central goal, CE introduces innovative business models that inherently incorporate social and environmental added value.

CE encompasses the redefinition of growth through new economic and business models, focusing on resource efficiency, longevity of products, and responsible resource management. It advocates for a regenerative economy where waste is minimized. This approach recognizes that resources are scarce and finite, emphasizing sustainable design, long-term product use, redistribution, and remanufacturing. CE integrates economic, natural, and social capital through design strategies, promoting the public good as part of new metrics.

Leading the Way in Circular Economy: The Ellen MacArthur Foundation emerged as a prominent force driving the transition towards a Circular Economy. Numerous NGOs, companies, universities, and even governments are now cooperating in the same direction. For instance, the European Commission has embraced CE as its development model and introduced the Circular Economy Action Plan (CEAP) as part of the "European Green Deal." The World Economic Forum (WEF) partners with multinational companies to promote innovation in CE through initiatives like the "Circular Accelerator." The Global Circular Economy Network (CEC) and Circular Economy Institute (CEI) support cities in ending the waste age, with over 280 local clubs and organizations worldwide.

Furthermore, a new scientific journal, "Materials Circular Economy," by Springer Nature, provides a platform for scientists and engineers to publish research on sustainable materials, lifecycle engineering, and the 6R strategies (reuse, recycle, redesign, remanufacture, and recover) within the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The Corrosionists' Age in Circular Economy: Today, Corrosionists find themselves at the forefront of the Circular Economy strategy. Traditionally operating within linear economic systems, they now face a systemic shift in their role. CE calls for systematic responses from Corrosionists, involving solutions and contributions across various stages:

Materials procurement: Incorporating corrosion prevention through design.
Processing towards useful products: Selecting materials and designs that prioritize corrosion prevention.
Usage: Extending product life, optimizing inspection and maintenance, and implementing circular anticorrosive measures.
Reuse: Allocating resources intelligently with preventive criteria and anti-corrosive protection.
Decommissioning: Planning for zero waste from the outset.
Remanufacturing: Incorporating preventive design.
Recycling: Implementing procedures in line with the demand for new materials.
Abandonment: Controlling and preventing corrosion to mitigate pollution risks.

Echoing the Urgency The 2023 SDG report reinforces the urgency of our mission. While the challenges are immense, they demand renewed commitment, solidarity, and action to fulfill the promise of the Sustainable Development Goals. As we navigate this pivotal moment, it is imperative that we come together to deliver a rescue plan for both people and the planet.

In challenging times, humanity has repeatedly demonstrated its ability to overcome hardships through determination, solidarity, leadership, and innovation. This moment of peril calls for a similar response as we strive to deliver on the promise we made in 2015. It represents unprecedented opportunities for corrosionists, designers, engineers, technologists, and LEADERS to contribute to a sustainable future. As we address significant global challenges, we must remember that protecting materials and equipment is not just a responsibility but also a profitable business. By embracing the Circular Economy and adhering to the principles of sustainable development, we can work towards a better future for all, securing a thriving planet for current and future generations.



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