Grants / Projects we are funding

A circular economy for a fairer footprint: Scottish Environment LINK

Grant details


Awarded on:01/04/2018

Duration:4.5 years


Area of interest

Resilient economies

Themes covered


We cannot keep consuming and generating waste in the way that we do if we want our natural resources to last. The circular economy approach, building in re-use and waste reduction into the design and use of products, is being considered in Scotland, with a bill due to come through this parliament. If they get it right it has great potential for transforming the economy but little detail has yet been prepared

What is the issue?

The neo-liberal economic system drives over-consumption of natural resources, with consequences that are environmentally unsustainable and socially unjust. Despite decades of concern there are no feedback mechanisms to drive the economy onto a sustainable path. The problems are systemic, needing deep change in economic and financial systems to deliver human wellbeing while respecting planetary environmental limits. The circular economy approach has the potential to provide a key link between diagnosis of these economic problems and practical policy changes which can address them. Within the UK Scotland is a leader on circular economy initiatives, and had a commitment to a Circular Economy Bill during the last Parliamentary term. This was delayed by the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic, but is expected to return to the agenda following the Scottish Parliamentary elections in 2021. If legislation is comprehensive it could be a game changer, and be an exemplar to other parts of the UK and beyond.

What will the project try to achieve?

LINK will bring together ideas and evidence with organisations and social movements to advocate for and achieve significant shifts towards a more circular, more sustainable and more equal economy in Scotland. The approaches used will be coalition building across sectors and development of a wide consensus about the key changes needed. This will include case studies, information gathering and analysis, discussion events and co-operative advocacy for a strong Circular Economy Bill among other policy measures to reduce material consumption and environmental degradation and to increase human wellbeing and environmental development. More generally LINK will seek improvement to the level of economic debate, questioning the prevailing assumption that ambitions for wellbeing and environmental sustainability are secondary to the ambition for economic growth.

Who might be interested in this project?

The project will be of interest to a wide range of organisations, voluntary and statutory, across the UK and beyond, who are interested in the role of economic drivers to reduce unsustainable resource consumption and increase human wellbeing.