A new report, conducted by Circle Economy found that 84% of current research on jobs in the circular economy focuses on countries in the Global North.
The report titled, Decent Work in the Circular Economy: An Overview of the Existing Evidence Base, identifies knowledge gaps which may hinder the creation of new employment opportunities.
The report highlights how current research fails to address the impact circular economy interventions have on people in countries in the Global South, atypical workers, women, migrants, youth and other vulnerable populations.
It also shows “research gaps” and calls for more consistent and internationally relevant evidence to create a “stronger foundation” for decision-making.
According to the report, created in collaboration with Circle Economy, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Solutions for Youth Employment (S4YE) Programme at the World Bank, Sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa were the most unrepresented regions.
Furthermore, the research shows that 73% of workers in low-income countries are employed in the informal economy, while Circle Economy says “most research” concerns formal, regulated work.
Circle Economy says that existing research also focuses disproportionately on job creation and disregards job quality, including working conditions and wages. The report found that only a “handful of studies” have examined whether and how a circular economy can alleviate poverty and benefit vulnerable communities in low-income countries.
Speaking on the need to address the social dimension of the circular economy, Alette van Leur, director of the Sectoral Policies Department of the ILO, said: “There is no doubt that a circular economy can help us reach our climate goals.
“However, the links between circularity and the achievement of social and economic progress remain overlooked. The shift towards a more circular economy offers significant opportunities for the world of work, such as the creation of new jobs and sustainable enterprises.”
This report is the first output under the “Jobs in the Circular Economy” initiative of Circle Economy, the ILO and S4YE. The initiative aims to address gaps in the evidence base for circular jobs through collaboration with an international community of research institutions, industry representatives, social partners, governments and public agencies.
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