The British Standards Institute has released the draft of a guide for businesses on implementing the circular economy – the first of its type in the world.

The BS 8001 standard offers guidance and recommendations for organisations of any type, sector, size or location. Rather than containing the technical specifications or codes of practice found in some of the other standards developed by the BSI, this framework standard provides information on the circular economy concept, suggesting steps organisations can take to operate in a more circular way.

The text of 8001 was primarily composed by a drafting panel established in 2014. The panel comprises around ten circular economy experts from different backgrounds, including the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Research Lead Ella Jamsin, Martin Charter of the University for the Creative Arts, and the IEMA’s Josh Fothergill. A larger committee of 60 representatives supported the development and provided insights.

“The hope is that this standard will help organisations of many types to translate the concept of circular economy into tangible transformative actions.

  • Ella Jamsin, Research Lead, Ellen MacArthur Foundation

Perhaps one of the most useful aspects of the standard might be the in-depth review of current circular economy terminology and schools of thought. In an effort to clarify different parts of the circular economy for readers, 8001 seeks to distinguish between nuanced concepts and clear up some confusion that has emerged as circular economy conversation has proliferated. For example, the draft includes sections on ‘open’ and ‘closed’ loops, why the circular economy is distinct from resource efficiency and zero-waste agendas, and how the circular economy relates to other disciplines such as the Blue Economy, Cradle to Cradle and Biomimicry.

The draft also includes guidance on circular business models, potential circular design strategies and annex of case studies.

Consultation opened in November and runs until January 15th. During this period, BSI invites others to comment on the draft. It’s easy enough to do – just head to the report’s location on the BSI website and sign in or create a free account to start reading and commenting on the document. You could help contribute to this important document that could support uptake of the circular economy.

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