This research by Lukas Stumpf, part of the CEC4Europe factbook on the circular economy published in September 2018, evaluates 131 projects from the Circular Economy Industry Platform (CEIP) regarding their contribution to circular economy from both a scientific and a political perspective.
Content analysis was applied to derive qualitative and quantitative information from company statements on the CEIP. This was supplemented by qualitative, semi-structured interviews with company representatives on selected projects. Results showed a diverse approach to circularity across the sample projects, thereby partly expanding the sectoral focus of the circular economy package.
Eco-design, eco-innovation and business models acted as strong enablers for circular actions in the sample, reflecting respective EU policies.
At the same time, sample projects heavily relied on recycling, while missing out on potentially more efficient circular principles such as reduction or reuse.
High diversity in criteria was found regarding the evaluation of the overall environmental impacts, with some projects using purely qualitative assessment methods, while other projects providing elaborate quantitative environmental evaluations, including significant positive impact potential. Regulatory challenges were specifically reported regarding a) the introduction of sound circularity quotas and targets, b) ambiguities concerning definitions and c) issues around unknown material compositions that currently impede recirculation.
The European Roundtable for Sustainable Consumption and Production (ERSCP), founded in 1994, supports the development of a European (but also worldwide) community of research and practice in sustainable consumption and production. Its main goal is to encourage discussion amongst stakeholders such as businesses, public institutions, universities, institutes and research centres, NGOs, SMEs, professional associations, decision-makers, etc. involved in such areas.
The 2019 edition of the ERSCP, hosted by the Polytechnic University of Barcelona, focussed on ‘Circular Europe for Sustainability’. Lukas Stumpf of CEC4Europe member University of Graz was awarded the ERSCP prize for the best research submitted and presented at the Roundtable by PhD students.
Read the entire text of the research here.