This week, at the World Circular Economy Forum held in Helsinki, Finland, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) announced the launch of the Global Circularity Protocol (GCP) development. This initiative will help drive the global effort to mainstream the circular production and consumption model.  The circular model will help address resource deficiencies while advancing the action on climate and nature and improving equity in value chains.

The Protocol development stems from a proposal presented and adopted during the Stockholm +50 event in 2022. Since then, it has gained widespread support from various stakeholders in the business, government, NGO, IGO and academic communities. The existing legal frameworks, standards, international agreements, and product coding systems at national, international, and regional levels primarily favor and support a linear economy. It is crucial to promptly reassess and realign these frameworks to stimulate a transition towards a circular economy. The Global Circularity Protocol offers the opportunity to address many of these existing challenges. The Protocol will be designed to foster policy alignment, facilitate accountability of businesses, attract investment, and raise consumer awareness.

With this Protocol, the business community, represented by WBCSD wanted to underline its ambition, but also to seek solutions through a collaborative approach with other stakeholders. The Protocol should create a voluntary framework that is open to all.  Leveraging its experience in protocol and circular metrics development, demonstrated through the co-authorship of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol and the creation of the Circular Transition Indicators, WBCSD will collaborate with its member companies and Global Network Partners to develop the GCP.

The working group envisions a multi-year and multi-stakeholder process engaging business, academia as well as policymakers to develop an internationally adopted GCP coupled with underlying principles to address policy and accountability gaps which are partly responsible for the slow adoption of more circular business models. Members of WBCSD from multiple sectors have already expressed strong interest in providing input to this process. Stakeholders are being convened and will formally start to meet as from Q3 2023. WBCSD invites Interested parties to contact Filipe Camaño Garcia, Manager, Global Circularity Protocol, WBCSD.

UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP) One Planet Network and its Global Dialogue on Sustainable Consumption and Production will be the key strategic partners in this endeavor. The Dialogue will secure inputs from the wider stakeholder community to the Protocol development and further support has been secured from Chatham House, UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the scientific community with additional partners expected to join soon.

“I am delighted to announce that WBCSD is investing resources and engaging members to follow through on Global Circularity Protocol, first proposed as part of the Stockholm Action Agenda at Stockholm +50” said Peter Bakker, President and CEO of WBCSD. “We are convinced that action is needed now to align the policy framework and unlock the investments needed to scale innovation to create an environment conducive for more circular business models to emerge. These are vital to the ability of society to achieve our shared climate neutrality and nature positivity goals.”