Circular Economy

UKGBC is working with its members and other stakeholders to develop practical guidance, raise awareness and influence policy to enable organisations working in the built environment to overcome the barriers to implementing circular economy principles.


April 1, 2021


Research & Innovation




The built environment can play a major role in creating a circular economy. In the UK, construction, demolition and excavation account for 60% of material use and waste generation. Humanity is on course to triple material extraction in the next 30 years and triple waste production by 2100. Meanwhile, prices of construction materials in the UK rose by 4.9% between 2017 and 2018. Adopting circular economy principles offers a €1.8 trillion opportunity to the EU between 2015 and 2030.  

UKGBC launched its circular economy programme in Spring 2018 based on feedback from UKGBC Gold Leaf members in 2017. This Circular Economy Research Survey, suggested that UKGBC needed to facilitate collaborative approaches to overcome common obstacles. The resources created by the programme can be found below.

Our plans for FY 21/22

  • Live Project Forum – UKGBC launched our Circular Economy Live Projects Forum in July 2020 to bring together individuals from across the value chain who are implementing circular economy principles to share learnings, find solutions, and make progress on live projects. Quarterly meetings are held in which participants provide updates on their projects and work together on key challenges and topics of interest. Supplementary member-led working groups, outside of the main quarterly forum remit, have also been established. This year, we will continue to collaborate in this solutions-orientated space on a quarterly basis – for more information and to get involved see here.
  • Findings from the Forum – this year we will continue to build on, and share, findings from the work of the Live Projects Forum. This includes a focus on material reuse, measuring the circularity of built assets, and designing for adaptation, flexibility and deconstruction.
  • Embodied carbon – we will explore how circular economy principles can reduce embodied carbon.
  • System enablers for a circular economy – we will explore the infrastructure and processes needed to enable a circular economy in a cohesive manner.
  • CIRCuIT – CIRCuIT – Circular Construction in Regenerative Cities is an EU funded collaborative project involving 29 ambitious partners across the entire built environment chain in Copenhagen, Hamburg, Helsinki Region and Greater London (led by LWARB). The objective is to implement circular economy in the value chain of the built environment and to enable cities to initiate circular transitions. There will be many chances to get involved in this project and we will share these as opportunities arise.

If you would like to join the UKGBC Circular Economy Interest Group and receive regular updates about our Circular Economy programme and chances to get involved, please email 

UKGBC resources 

Circular Economy Implementation Packs for Reuse and Products as a Service – UKGBC has published implementation packs on reuse and Products as a Service to assist built environment projects adopt circular economy principles. 

Circular economy guidance for construction clients: How to practically apply circular economy principles at the project brief stage  We worked with our members and other key stakeholders to produce this guidance which provides a practical guide for those wanting to include circular principles in their project briefs.  

Circular economy actor and resource map – We have developed a new tool which helps professionals better understand the landscape of initiatives being worked on specifically around circular economy.  

Circular Economy Policy Asks May 2020 – Our policy asks build on the recommendations from our roundtable discussion while drawing on international best practices. Experts from across the value chain were also consulted to create a list of 11 policy recommendations for promoting circular economy principles

UKGBC Circular economy policy roundtable discussion – December 2018 – We were joined by officials from Defra and BEIS to hear suggestions from our members on how government can put in place a stronger regulatory and legislative framework to help drive circular outcomes.  

Course Mail Series 3 – Circular Economy in the Built Environment – Sign up to UKGBC’s Course Mail series for on-demand learning on circular economy, delivered in weekly easy-to-read emails. 

To learn more about circular economy you can find recordings of our programme’s webinars here:  

This programme of work is made possible by our Programme Partners: