Until now we have based our development on a linear model, which consists of producing, buying, using and throwing away, and which has caused a strong environmental impact on our planet. From now on, we must base it on a circular model, which includes waste management and its use as raw materials in production processes.
The circular economy proposes a production and consumption model based on sharing, renting, reusing, repairing, renewing and recycling existing materials and products as many times as possible to create added value and extend their life cycle. It is a new model of more sustainable economic development for the planet.
The circular approach presents multiple benefits in environmental terms (reduction of emissions, minimization of the consumption of natural resources, reduction of waste generation, etc.), economic (promoting new business ideas and new production models) and social ( job creation, health protection, etc.).
In addition, the principles of the circular economy and the Sustainable Development Goals share a common objective: social and economic prosperity within the natural capacity of the planet. Therefore, the circular economy can also be thought of as an approach to achieve the goals proposed by the 2030 Agenda.
Education is essential to understand, accelerate and promote this circular model, and thus advance in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
For this reason, it is of paramount interest to launch projects such as EDUSAS (University Education for Health and Sustainability), financed by the Development Cooperation Office of the University of Seville. This initiative aims to train and sensitize the university community about the relationship of the circular economy with environmental sustainability and health, taking into account the gender perspective.
This project contributes directly to SDG 4: Quality education through target 4.7:
By 2030, ensure that all students acquire the theoretical and practical knowledge necessary to promote sustainable development, including through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and the contribution of culture to sustainable development.
The circular economy in other SDGs
The Sustainable Development Goals are indivisible and deeply interconnected, such that progress on one leads to progress on others.
In this way, we can affirm that the circular economy directly or indirectly influences the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, although we can highlight the following:
SDG 3: Health and well-being
Target 3.9: By 2030, substantially reduce the number of deaths and illnesses caused by hazardous chemicals and air, water, and soil pollution.
SDG 7: Affordable and clean energy
Target 7.2: By 2030, significantly increase the share of renewable energy in the mix of energy sources.
SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth
Target 8.4: Progressively improve, by 2030, the efficient production and consumption of global resources and seek to decouple economic growth from environmental degradation.
SDG 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure
Target 9.4: By 2030, modernize infrastructure and reconvert industries to make them sustainable, using resources more efficiently and promoting the adoption of clean and environmentally sound industrial technologies and processes, and getting all countries to act accordingly with their respective abilities.
SDG 11: Sustainable cities and communities
Target 11.6: By 2030, reduce the negative per capita environmental impact of cities, including paying special attention to air quality and municipal and other waste management.
SDG 12: Responsible consumption and production
Target 12.2: by 2030, achieve sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources.
Target 12.3: By 2030, halve global per capita food waste at retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses in production and supply chains, including post-consumer losses harvest.
Target 12.4: By 2020, achieve the environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their life cycles, in accordance with agreed international frameworks, and significantly reduce their release to the atmosphere, water and the soil in order to minimize its adverse effects on human health and the environment.
Target 12.5: By 2030, significantly reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling, and reuse activities.
Mata 12.8: By 2030, ensure that people around the world have the relevant information and knowledge for sustainable development and lifestyles in harmony with nature.
SDG 13: Climate action
Target 13.3: Improve education, awareness and human and institutional capacity regarding climate change mitigation, adaptation to it, reduction of its effects and early warning.
The achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, we can therefore affirm that it will be circular or it will not be.