Digitalisation for the transition to a resource efficient and circular economy

Digital transformation is increasingly recognised as a means to help unlocking the benefits of more inclusive and sustainable growth and enhanced social well-being. In the environmental context, digitalisation can contribute to decoupling economic activity from natural resource use and their environmental impacts. This paper takes stock of the implications of digitalisation for the transition to a resource efficient and circular economy. Particularly, the paper provides insights into how digitalisation may fuel circular business models in the private sector, and discusses the role of digital technologies in addressing some important market failures that stand in the way to scaling up circular activities. It also offers a public sector perspective, by exploring how digital technologies support effective delivery of circular economy policies, enabling better policy design, reshaping government-citizen interaction and improving implementation of policies. Additionally, the paper maps potential unintended consequences of the digital circular transition, including general risks related to data, security, privacy and transparency, as well as rebound effects and unexpected regulatory interventions.

Published on March 28, 2022

In series:OECD Environment Working Papersview more titles