CircEUlar: understanding the dynamics and levers for societal transformation towards a net-zero emission circular economy


CircEUlar is a four-year European Research and Innovation Action aiming at understanding the dynamics and levers for a societal transformation towards a net-zero emissions circular economy.

While there has been significant recent progress in research and theoretical development of the design and overall principles of a circular economy, such work has largely focused on the organisation of production/supply while conceptual work on the required participation from consumption/demand remains largely underdeveloped.

CircEUlar will develop new modelling approaches for analysing circularity from a systems perspective accounting for:

  1. dematerialisation and the transition to a service-based economy to limit material stock growth
  2. lifetime extension of material stocks through repair, maintenance, reuse
  3. waste treatment and material recycling.

The project takes a comprehensive approach, integrating new data and modeling to analyse economy-wide material stocks, flows, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and interconnected industrial value chains. It also includes in-depth analysis of material-intensive demand sectors such as mobility and buildings.

Additionally, the project explores the role of digitalisation as a potential catalyst for dematerialisation and circularity in supply chains.

The CircEUlar project formally began on 1 September 2022 – with the hybrid project kick-off meeting held at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Laxenburg, Austria, on 29 - 30 September. It involves 11 organisations from seven countries.

Main results

CircEUlar intends to integrate new insights on circular economy potentials and impacts into EU and global modelling frameworks for:

  • analysing alternative pathways to net-zero GHG emissions
  • testing effective policy levers for both circular production and consumption
  • assessing outcomes for climate, environment, economy and society, in line with European Green Deal objectives.