With up to 50 billion connected devices predicted by 2020, a pervasive digital transformation is reshaping the economy. Will this ‘fourth industrial revolution’ lead to an acceleration of the extractive, ‘linear’ economy of today, or will it enable the transition towards a society in which value creation is increasingly decoupled from finite resource consumption?
A new report, Intelligent Assets: Unlocking the circular economy potential, finds that pairing circular economy principles with the information generated by intelligent devices creates a fertile ground for innovation that could enable this decoupling, and lead to broad social benefits. The report was produced by the World Economic Forum and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation as part of Project MainStream, a global, multi-industry initiative that aims to accelerate business-driven innovations to help scale the circular economy.
“Digital technologies are driving a profound transformation of our economy. Guiding this wave of change by applying circular economy principles could create value, and generate wider benefits for society, as this report shows. Intelligent assets are a key building block of a system capable of ushering in a new era of growth and development, increasingly decoupled from resource constraints.”
– Dame Ellen MacArthur, Founder, Ellen MacArthur Foundation