In the current linear — take-make-waste — economy, financial drives often come before social protection and participation. Too often this means that people find it hard to access work or find a job that meets their needs. An inclusive labor market should provide decent work opportunities for all people no matter their age, ethnicity, gender, educational level or geographic location.

The transition to the circular economy will be labor-intensive, especially in the coming 10 to 20 years, requiring more people to drive its principles (PDF) of reuse, repair, refurbish, recover and recycle, than in the linear economy where resources are typically wasted and incinerated.

The circular economy requires people to work together across companies and sectors, using skills such as empathy, craftsmanship and ingenuity. Because of this, the circular economy has the potential to create new types of jobs and tasks, opening up opportunities for people currently distant from the labor market. At the same time, we need to be mindful of the wide spectrum of workers often deeply embedded in the circular economy.

So, what role could the circular economy play in rebalancing power and how are social enterprises already creating more inclusive work opportunities in the circular economy?

While commitments towards circularity are being made by global and national actors, the local social economy will be key to translating these commitments into action and helping to make sure the circular economy serves everyone. Here are a few examples of social enterprises that already are helping to create more inclusive work opportunities for people in the circular economy and what we can learn from them.

  1. Putting a face to circular jobs
  2. Collaborating for business and social value
  3. Segregating tasks for inclusive jobs

Read the full article about the inclusive circular economy by Esther Goodwin Brown at GreenBiz.