ISO Circular Economy

ISO has just released three standards for the circular economy: ISO 59004, ISO 59010, and ISO 59020, offering a comprehensive toolkit for implementation, business model transition, and performance measurement in the circular economy.

The new standards represent a significant milestone, providing a shared understanding and a common vocabulary for the circular economy. This global consensus helps standardize principles and practices across countries, enabling consistent and effective implementation.  

So, what are these standards specifically about?  

ISO 59004: Defining and Guiding Circular Economy – establishes an international definition of the circular economy, outlining six interconnected principles: systems thinking, value creation, value sharing, resource management, resource tracking, and ecosystem resilience.
It provides guidance for implementation and prioritizes actions like refuse, rethink, reduce, repair, and recycle.

ISO 59010: Transforming Business Models – focuses on transitioning from linear to circular business models. It emphasizes collaboration and industrial symbiosis, helping organizations redefine their strategies, set goals, and monitor practices to improve resource efficiency and reduce waste.  

ISO 59020: Measuring Circularity – offers a framework for measuring circularity performance at various levels, including regional, organizational, and product levels. It
guides tracking resource flows, assessing sustainability impacts, and monitoring key indicators like energy and water usage.  

In addition to these standards, ISO is developing further guidelines, such as ISO 59040
(Product Circularity Data Sheet) and ISO 59014 (Sustainability and Traceability of Secondary Materials Recovery). These efforts complement existing standards on
sustainable sourcing and environmental management, providing a holistic approach to circular economy practices.

The publication of the ISO 59000 series marks a critical step towards a sustainable future, offering a clear path for organizations to adopt circular practices. This unified framework supports global efforts to mitigate climate change and promote sustainable resource management, paving the way for a resilient and sustainable economy.

See also other International and European standards covering circular economy aspects in the link below.

Circular economy — Vocabulary, principles and guidance for implementation

ISO/TC 323 more

Circular economy — Guidance on the transition of business models and value networks

ISO/TC 323 more

Circular economy — Measuring and assessing circularity performance

ISO/TC 323 more