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Study: Global circularity still in decline despite circular economy 'megatrend'

Deloitte and Circle Economy Consulting collaborate to help accelerate global circularity impact

Key highlights:

  • The global Circularity Gap Report 2024, a collaboration between Deloitte and Circle Economy Foundation, finds while discussion and debate surrounding circularity have almost tripled in the last five years, this has not resulted in a decline in virgin material use.
  • In the past six years, the global population consumed more than 500 billion tonnes of materials—nearly as many materials as were consumed during the entire 20th century.
  • Deloitte is investing in new initiatives to help drive business adoption of circular practices that reduce waste and keep materials in circulation, announcing an exclusive partnership with the newly formed Circle Economy Consulting, an impact consulting firm that is a spinoff of Circle Economy Foundation.
  • The circular economy is projected to help reduce emissions by 40%, generate nearly 2 million jobs, and become a US$2-3 billion market in the coming years.

NEW YORK, NY, US, 24 January 2024— Today, Deloitte and Circle Economy Foundation released the Circularity Gap Report 2024, finding the vast majority of extracted materials entering the economy are virgin, with the share of secondary materials declining steadily since the Circularity Gap Report began in 2018. The report identifies three main areas where reforms can help accelerate progress toward the circular economy: policy, finance, and employment.

The decline in circularity continues despite the concept of a circular economy—one that aims to help reduce consumption of virgin materials and keep materials in circulation—growing in popularity, with the volume of discussions, debates and articles on the topic almost tripling in the past five years. The report outlines how governments and industry leaders can move from commitment to action by adopting policies and frameworks that incentivize circular practices while penalizing harmful ones, adjusting fiscal policies and practices to help create true prices that include the social and environmental costs of a product or service, funding circular solutions so that they can replace linear norms, and helping ensure their workforce is skilled and trained to support a just transition. The report also focuses on transformative circular solutions across the food system, built environment, and manufactured goods.

“Leveraging the Circularity Gap Report, stakeholders are able to prioritize their circular roadmap based on a data-driven analysis. Policymakers, industry leaders, and financial institutions can agree on focus areas and work collaboratively on the systemic change needed to stay within our planetary boundaries,” says Ivonne Bojoh, CEO of Circle Economy Foundation. “To ensure the transition to a circular economy is just and fair, circular solutions must be designed with the world’s most vulnerable populations in mind, then these solutions will reduce inequalities across workforces and increase job opportunities worldwide.”

Along with the report, Deloitte also announced an exclusive partnership with Circle Economy Consulting, an impact consulting firm that is a spinoff of Circle Economy Foundation. The collaboration can help organizations realize circular economy opportunities from designing strategy, to implementing transformation, to measuring and reporting on progress.

“Successfully piloting and scaling circularity requires close coordination across business functions and supply chains. Through our relationship with Circle Economy Consulting and Circle Economy Foundation we’ll bring insights from the Circularity Gap Reports directly to businesses to unlock value. Combined with Deloitte’s end-to-end capabilities, this allows us to create new solutions to help our clients scale circular transformation at the pace and the ambition needed to realize significant commercial opportunity and enable sustainable and resilient supply chains,” says David Rakowski, partner, Deloitte UK, who is leading Deloitte’s global circularity offering.

The collaboration can help businesses tap into a budding market projected to reach US$2-3 billion by 2026, and help them reduce material extraction while increasing the resilience of their supply chains. Drawing on the end-to-end capabilities of Deloitte’s Sustainability & Climate practice globally, the collaboration can help businesses with data analysis and navigating regulatory complexity to shape strategy, through to organizational transformation that places people and digital at the heart, to measurement and reporting.

“Implementing and monitoring circularity are becoming key success factors for businesses to both remain ahead of the game and to comply with anticipated regulation. In joining forces, Deloitte and Circle Economy Consulting will help actualize circular economy principles by empowering clients to take charge of their circular performance,” says Marc de Wit, Managing Director of Circle Economy Consulting. “We’re looking forward to combining Circle Economy Consulting’s circularity expertise with Deloitte’s breadth of experience, cutting edge technology, and subject matter, industry, and transformation specialists to help businesses reach tangible and scalable results.”

“Prioritizing circular efforts today can help organizations retain a competitive advantage while accelerating progress against their environmental goals. We’re proud to help businesses around the world address their environmental footprint, adapt their value chains, and shift to a circular approach,” says Jennifer Steinmann, Deloitte Global Sustainability & Climate Practice leader. “Together with Circle Economy Consulting, we will continue to drive market discussion and collaboration by bringing Deloitte’s technology and strategy capabilities to designing, piloting, and ultimately scaling circular solutions globally.”

To read the findings of the Circularity Gap Report 2024, visit: and to learn more about Deloitte’s collaboration with Circle Economy Consulting, visit:

About Circle Economy Foundation

Circle Economy Foundation is a global impact organisation with an international team of passionate experts based in Amsterdam. The organisation empowers industries, cities and nations with practical and scalable solutions to put the circular economy into action. The Foundation’s vision is an economic system that ensures the planet and all people can thrive. To avoid climate breakdown, it is the goal to double global circularity by 2032.

Circle Economy Foundation is the owner of the Circularity Gap Report (CGRⓇ). Structured evidence about circular strategies and their impacts—economic, environmental or social—is often not available to decision-makers. Instead, decision-making is oriented around linear data that does not adequately consider the quality of life and wellbeing of people and the planet. The Circularity Gap Reporting Initiative aims to fill these knowledge gaps.

About Circle Economy Consulting

Circle Economy Consulting is a dynamic, impact consulting firm, committed to empowering forward-thinking leaders and businesses in identifying, evaluating and implementing circular solutions. To this end the firm follows a systematic and data-driven approach, supplying the practical steps and involving, inspiring and engaging stakeholders and employees along the way. The firm has more than 10 years of experience under its belt, delivering more than 100 business projects across industries and geographies working with industry leaders like Philips, Action and Rockwool.  Drawing on the expertise of an international team with over 35+ years of combined circular economy experience, the consulting services are tailored to the unique needs of private sector clients. Learn more at