Is India Ready to Embrace the Circular Economy?

Having experienced sustained and rapid growth over the past two decades, India is facing a rapid urbanization and industrialization. By embarking on a circular economy transformation, India could create direct economic benefits for businesses and citizens while reducing negative consequences. Today, India stands at the threshold of profound choices. With its young population and emerging manufacturing sector, the country can make systemic choices that would put it on a trajectory towards positive development.

India stands to gain $624 billion in annual value created, amounting to 30% of India’s current GDP and a 44 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Specific advances would include profit opportunities and material cost savings for businesses, lower use of virgin materials, and reduced traffic congestion and air pollution. In addition, they can take advantage of the impending digital revolution, reinforce their position as a hub for innovation and technology, and increase household disposable income through lower costs for products and services.

High-growth markets like India could move directly to a more effective system and avoid getting locked into linear models and infrastructure, as is the case in mature markets. The findings are relevant not only to India, but also to other emerging economies.

60 percent of India’s population will live in urban areas by 2050, which is up from about 30% today. 70 percent of buildings that will stand in India in 2030 are yet to be constructed. Choices made today will determine India’s long term development, and they could help meet the needs of its growing population while avoiding getting locked into resource ineffective buildings and infrastructure.

A regenerative agricultural system that combines modern technology with traditional practices to meet India’s growing food demand. This demand and environmental challenges associated with climate change, land degradation, and biodiversity loss are increasing pressure on the system. Applying circular economy principles to the development of the Indian food system could create annual benefits of $ 61 billion by 2050. Also, they could reduce greenhouse gas emissions, water usage, and environmental degradation.

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