New standard for the circular economy has been launched by BSI


The world’s first circular economy standard aimed at challenging how companies approach resources has been published

The circular economy has been the subject of much discussion recently. It is an approach that challenges organisations to address how they deal with their resources in an efficient manner.

In response to this growing trend, business standards company the BSI has launched a ground-breaking standard for the circular economy.

The BS 8001 standard provides organisations and individuals guidance to consider when implementing sustainable practices. The standard is unique, in that it is the first if its kind, both in the UK and globally.

Key principles

The standard highlights how the circular economy works while providing insight into how organisations can make the transition from linear to a circular operation.

It focuses on six key principles that form part of the thinking behind the circular economy. This comprises of:

  • Innovation;
  • Stewardship;
  • Collaboration;
  • Value optimisations;
  • Transparency;
  • Systems thinking.

The last principle, systems thinking, is defined as understanding the interaction of organisations or individuals on the wider system they are a part of.


BSI said the standard was not designed to be prescriptive or certifiable, rather to be used in a flexible manner that suits the needs of those adopting it. It is designed to help organisations at any stage of their business, whether that be at the start of operating or once fully established.

Once implemented, the BS 8001 standard will help businesses to improve their resilience, open new revenue streams and increase their corporate sustainability credentials. For this reason, BSI said the standard offers a significant opportunity for those willing to adopt it.

David Fatscher, Head of Sustainability at BSI, said: “BS 8001 is a world first and further evidence that BSI, as the UK national standards body, is demonstrating leadership in developing knowledge solutions which address global challenges.

“Resource productivity is at the heart of the government’s new Industrial Strategy and demonstrates how standards can be considered business improvement tools which help organizations unlock the untapped potential of sustainable growth. BS 8001 was developed to enable organizations to take practical actions to realize the economic and social benefits of the circular economy.”

Francois Souchet, Project Manager for Insight and Analysis at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, added: “This standard provides a valuable introduction to the practical action organizations can take to accelerate their transition to a circular economy.”

A number of organisations were involved in the creation of the standard, including government bodies, local authorities, private firms and associations.

  • BEIS – Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy;
  • Hampshire County Council; University of Sheffield;
  • Marks & Spencer plc;
  • Rolls Royce;
  • Tata Steel, Institute for Sustainability;
  • Amec Foster Wheeler;
  • University College London;
  • Green Alliance;
  • Loughborough University;
  • Granta Design Limited;
  • Keep Britain Tidy;
  • Timber Trade Federation;
  • Waste and Resources Action Programme;
  • Centre for Remanufacturing and Reuse;
  • Institution of Mechanical Engineers;
  • Innovate UK;
  • Greater London Authority;
  • British Coatings Federation Ltd;
  • British Precast Concrete Federation Ltd;
  • Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment;
  • Centre for Sustainable Design;
  • UK Sustainability Network for Standardization;
  • Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs;
  • Zero Waste Scotland;
  • Eden21;
  • Shoosmiths LLP;
  • International Lead Association;
  • Welsh Government;
  • University of Surrey;
  • Resource Association;
  • British Glass Manufacturers Confederation;
  • National Physical Laboratory;
  • Scottish Government;
  • London Waste & Recycling Board;
  • Ellen MacArthur Foundation;
  • Chartered Institution of Wastes Management;
  • Construction Products Association;
  • Bioregional;
  • Confederation of Paper Industries Ltd;
  • BAM Construct UK.


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