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Earth Overshoot Day 2022: Circular businesses are reversing overshoot

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND — July 25th, 2022 — This year’s Earth Overshoot Day is on July 28th, according to calculations by Global Footprint Network. This means from January 1 until this day, humanity has demanded as much from nature as the planet’s ecosystems can renew in the entire year.

Earth Overshoot Day reminds us that the persistence of overshoot, now for over half a century, has led to huge decline in biodiversity, excess greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and heightened competition for food and energy. These symptoms are becoming more prominent with unusual heat waves, forest fires, droughts, and floods.

Given a predictable future of more climate change and resource constraints, resource security is turning into an essential parameter of lasting prosperity. This is true for countries, cities, or companies. There is no advantage in waiting for international agreements. Rather, it is in the interest of every city, company, or country to step up and protect its own ability to operate in the future.

Indeed, a new generation of circular-economy-focused companies have already recognized that: They operate while also reducing overshoot. Expanding such companies, means global overshoot goes down.

“Enabling circular solutions gives companies the best chance to succeed in the predictable future” says Mathis Wackernagel from Global Footprint Network. “There are many examples that demonstrate how. They symbolize the Power of Possibility”.

Examples of circular businesses, all medium size companies from Germany or Switzerland, include:

  • Construction: Over 6 billion tons of waste from torn-down buildings are produced every year worldwide. Eberhard, a Swiss construction company, opened 10 months ago the first plant in Europe to recover mixed construction waste and turn it into new, high-quality circular secondary raw material. One application is a low-carbon, circular concrete that is largely composed of recycled materials (zirkulit®). If such concrete were used worldwide instead of conventional one, Earth Overshoot Day would move by 2.4 days.
  • Water technology: All life requires clean water. To enable safe use and reuse of water, Aqseptence Group provides specialized products and solutions for municipalities and industries to filter, separate and treat water. As a priority, they contribute to the preservation of our planet by reducing CO2 footprints and conserving natural resources in all their applications.
  • Waste recycling: by closing various material or product loops, and providing sorting and recycling of large waste streams, including plastics, Interzero reduces society’s dependence on virgin resources. Based on Interzero’s data Global Footprint Network’s researchers calculated that for every annual Euro value add the company generates with their zero waste solutions, global overshoot shrinks by over 28 global square meters. This contrasts starkly with the 2.6 global square meters of overshoot added for every annual Euro generated by the global economy. That means, per Euro, Interzero gives 10 times more back to our planet than the global economy takes. Without Interzero, Earth Overshoot Day would be 4 minutes and 20 seconds earlier. Its impact is therefore measurable even on a global scale.

Companies who can produce valuable goods and services while also reducing global overshoot are naturally better positioned for the predictable future. The likelihood that such businesses will be needed, and that they therefore remain valuable, is higher than for those businesses who ignore those global trends.

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Media contacts

Dr. Marta Antonelli (Switzerland), Global Footprint Network | +41 78 656 2844

Astrid Gloor, Eberhard Bau AG | +41 79 256 75 78

Mathias Kreutzmann, Interzero | +49 151 72 47 6504

Sabrina Reitz, Aqseptence Group, +49 6120 28-2120