The first standard ever on Circular Economy

CEThe UK’s national standardisation body BSI is creating the first standard ever on a circular economy. ECOS welcomes this initiative and contributed with comments during the public consultation, which closed in January 2017.

British standard BS 8001 ‘Framework for implementing circular economy principles in organizations – Guide’ aims to help all organisations move from a linear to a more sustainable circular mode of operation. BSI 8001 will provide circular economy principles that should be used when applying the proposed framework for action. It will address standardisation in the field of resource management, and support the planning, delivery, assessment and review of circular economy thinking. The intent is that any organisation could use this standard, no matter how advanced their journey to a circular model is.

In our comments, we highlighted the missing links with existing international environmental management standards and the absence of systems thinking. Product life extension, repair and re-use could be given more prominence, along with raw materials’ inherent value and zero waste policies. Overall, ECOS believes that the standard could be more outcome-focused instead of listing general principles that risk going unchecked or unused. The standard should present circular economy thinking, including the monitoring of organisations’ activities against fixed objectives, as an unmissable opportunity for any organisation.

The BSI committee SDS/1/10 ‘Sustainable Resource Management’ responsible for drafting this standard addresses includes among others ECOS member the UK Sustainability Network for Standardisation, and also the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Green Alliance, Zero Waste Scotland and the British government.

The resolution of comments received on BS 8001 are expected to begin in June 2017. ECOS hopes that an improved version will be approved and that it will serve as inspiration for a future European standard.