An honest quest for holistic solutions to reach the SDGs will inevitably lead to a promotion of the shift to a circular industrial economy. The circular industrial economy is a bag full of opportunities and chances; we need the courage to open the bag and motivate people to seize the opportunities.

Governments of industrialised countries should have a considerable self-interest in this shift. If anthropogenic CO2 emissions are at least partly to blame for rising global temperature, then a shift from a linear to a circular industrial economy, to managing the stocks of manufactured assets, will help to fulfil the promises made at COP 21 in Paris and protect against government liability claims.

The trends of a technology-driven ‘New Economy’, already present in long-life technologies and intelligent decentralisation and micro-production sectors, reinforce the opportunities of the circular industrial and the Performance Economy. ‘Figureheads’ and ‘lighthouses’ can help to motivate users, corporates and policymakers to adapt their actions towards making the latter the economic default option. Identifying regional strategies based on cultural identity and motivation may be the most powerful lever for change.