What is a regenerative economy?
Auckland’s current economy relies heavily on extracting resources to make and use products which are then thrown away at the end of their life. This is often called the
linear economy and means that our limited supplies of metals, fuels, water, soil and land are under pressure from over demand.
It also means that there is a continued accumulation of waste such as plastics in landfills and our oceans. Both the continued use of finite resources and the ongoing generation of waste is resulting in the degradation of our natural environmental and putting increasing pressure on our planetary boundaries.
This linear economy is also carbon intensive with 45 per cent of global
emissions coming from the way we produce goods, grow food and manage our resources. In addition to emissions, there is an increased risk to availability, supply and costs for these resources, resulting from global competition and disruptions to supply chains from severe weather events.
To address these issues a
regenerative economy which is underpinned by
renewable energy is needed. A regenerative economy is focused on ensuring that the degraded environments and natural resources that we are reliant on are rebuilt through our economic activities.
A key principle of a regenerative economy is that the Earth’s natural resources are extracted no faster than they can regenerate and be replenished. When resources are used, a regenerative economy ensures that they are used in ways that give back to nature and harnesses the many sources of value through reuse and renewal.
Embedding circularity is another core requirement of a regenerative economy and means that there is less of a need to extract further resources and waste is minimised. This approach can reduce emissions and enable carbon to be returned to the environment, removing it from Earth’s atmosphere.
Shifting Auckland’s economic model to one that restores and regenerates our natural systems and closes the gap on inequity will require collaborative effort from business, government, community and Māori.