When sharing my ideas about circular economy being applied to human resources management*, one regular comment I often hear is related to the assumption that circular economy will exacerbate unemployment. And the following question is how it is expected to shape tomorrow’s workplace and transform the HR model we have always known if it cannot save jobs in the first place. And one cannot just brush off those concerns with a good mantra about circular economy as they deserve valid anwers. I am convinced that circular economy can deliver both economic and environmental gains and does not have to be a battlefield opposing idealist vs. pragmatic people or people deeply concerned about the future of our planet vs. people deeply concerned about short term profitability.
A belief also held high by the European Commission, currently working on a new and more ambitious circular economy strategy to be presented late in 2015. The primary ambition of that strategy is to transform Europe into a more competitive resource-efficient economy that will also bring new growth and job opportunities. The European Commission is confident that improving resource productivity by 30% could boost GDP by nearly 1%, while creating 2 million additional jobs by 2030.
To back that up, a very interesting study published this year on circular economy andGreat Britain employment shows that improving resource efficiency can make a valuable contribution to improving the labor market situation. Taking the example of Great Britain, the report indicates that if the country would remain on the current circularity path, by 2030, the circular economy could create over 205,000 gross jobs, reduce unemployment by circa 54,000 and offset 11 percent of future losses in skilled employment. Under a more extensive expansion of circular economy, by 2030, the sector could create over half a million jobs (gross), reduce unemployment by over 100,000 and potentially offset around 18 percent of the expected future losses in skilled employment. In the UK alone, resource efficiency measures could add $2.9 trillion to the economy by 2030, with returns on investment of more than 10%.
As promising as they are, achieving those numbers will require profound change in the way we think, we make decisions, and behave. This will call for the reinvention of concepts such as profitability, performance, growth and ultimately value creation. Choosing the resource efficiency model will forever change the way we envision production, consumption but also the way we do business, form working relationships, manage our careers, choose education fields.
“Circular economy applied to human resources management, shaping tomorrow’s workplace” published in “Tendances Sociales et Culturelles de la Valeur” co-authored by a group of French and English speaking people aspiring to share about creating sustainable value.
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