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Identifying the impact of the circular economy on the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods Industry: opportunities and challenges for businesses, workers and consumers – mobile phones as an example

Identifying the impact of the circular economy on the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods Industry: opportunities and challenges for businesses, workers and consumers – mobile phones as an example

mobile pone case study of circular economy impact CEPS EESC

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Author: 
Centre for European Policy Studies
Publication Date: 
10/2019
Country: 
EU

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Mobile phones, particularly smartphones, have undergone a period of rapid growth to become virtually indispensable to today's lifestyle. Yet their production, use and disposal can entail a significant environmental burden.

This study, commissioned by the European Economic and Social Committee and carried out by the Centre for European Policy Studies, looks at the opportunities and challenges arising from implementing circular economy approaches in the mobile phone value chain. A review of the value chain and different circular approaches is complemented by a scenario analysis that aims to quantify the potential impacts of circular approaches such as recycling, refurbishment and lifetime extension.

The study finds that there is a large untapped potential for recovering materials from both the annual flow of new mobile phones sold in Europe once they reach the end of their life and the accumulated stock of unused, so-called "hibernating" devices in EU households. Achieving high recycling rates for these devices can offer opportunities to reduce EU dependence on imported materials and make secondary raw materials available on the EU market, as shown in the picture below.

Drawing on the empirical findings and the analysis conducted, this study recommends policy action in the following areas:

  • Collection rates of old unused mobile phone devices are low, which means there is largely unexploited potential in the EU for recovering valuable materials from these devices.
  • Although consumers generally show willingness to engage in circular economy practices for mobile phones, in reality only a few do so.
  • Various challenges for reuse and refurbishment businesses stem from EU legislation, including regulatory complexity and "preparation for use" in the WEE directive

As such, policy-makers should close the collection gap for mobile phone devices, which could in turn create jobs in the refurbishment sector. Extending the lifetime of mobile phones can also provide CO2 mitigation benefits, particularly from displacing the production of new devices.

15 Oct 2019 to 18 Oct 2019

BarcelonaTech welcomes the 19th European Roundtable on Sustainable Consumption and Production (ERSCP) Society from 15 to 18 October

24 Oct 2019
European Social Innovation competition visual

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City: 
Brussels
Country: 
Belgium

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Find out about Europe’s top social innovations challenging plastic waste at the European Social Innovation Competition awards ceremony on 24 October 2019 in Brussels.

07 Oct 2019 to 13 Oct 2019

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multiple
Country: 
Czech Republic, Poland, Slovak Republic

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The 2019 International Circular Week is set to take place simultaneously in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland from 8 to 13 October 2019, with events ranging from Horizon 2020 brokerage to street art performances

4 Oct 2019
consilium

Recently adopted EU legislation helps tackle marine litter from plastics, improves chemicals management and increases the recycling of materials. In its conclusions of 4 October 2019, the Council of the EU stresses that further ambitious efforts are needed to stimulate a systemic transition to a sustainable society, inviting the European Commission to come up with an ambitious long-term strategic framework, including a common vision for a circular economy and to adopt a new circular economy action plan with targeted actions.

SWEETS hotel upcycles Amsterdam's bridge houses into unique guest rooms

sweets hotel room example

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Country: 
Netherlands

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Since 2012, SWEETS hotel has been adapting Amsterdam's abandoned bridge houses into unique flats, thus preventing their demolition.

18 Oct 2019 to 20 Oct 2019
circular economy hackathon

Mektory at Tallinn University of Technology will host a Circular Economy Hackathon from 18 to 20 October at the biggest Innovation Center in Estonia. At the end of the hackathon, an international jury will select 10 ideas to participate in the growth and scaling workshops.

15 Oct 2019
circularity gap webinar

The role of national governments in closing the circularity gap while fulfilling citizen's needs is crucial - join the conversation during the Circularity Gap Webinar for policymakers on 15 October.

04 Dec 2019

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City: 
Brussels
Country: 
Belgium

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EURACTIV will host a high-level Stakeholder Workshop on 4 December 2019 to discuss the EU’s circular economy policy, its current challenges and its future steps.

1 Oct 2019
ecolabel measures graphic

In a continued effort to reduce Europe's carbon footprint and to lower energy bills for European consumers, the European Commission has adopted new eco-design measures on 1 October for products such as refrigerators, washing machines, dishwashers and televisions.

Policy enablers to accelerate the circular economy: Scaling up actions across regions and stakeholders

wbsd report infographic

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Author: 
World Business Council for Sustainable Development
Publication Date: 
09/2019
Country: 
EU
International

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Over the past couple of years, as companies start to understand the opportunities that lie under the concept of circular economy, the circularity conversation has gained significant momentum. At the same time, national and regional governments are developing frameworks and regulations to promote the circular economy.

Effective policymaking is crucial to accelerate and scale up circular actions in the economy. It supports businesses in overcoming hurdles by stimulating innovative projects and long-term investments in circularity, facilitating collaboration and partnerships, and producing tangible results.

Learning from successful policies can help inform future policies to promote wider actions in other sectors and regions over time.

By highlighting some representative pioneers in circular economy policy, exploring key enablers from these policies, describing how other regions could replicate these enablers and providing recommendations, this publication aims to provide insights from the policy perspective and to feed into the ongoing development of other initiatives and policies related to the circular economy globally.

Destination climate neutrality: a five year policy blueprint for Europe

destination climate neutrality
Author: 
EEB, IDDRI, CLIMACT
Publication Date: 
09/2019
Country: 
EU

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Destination Climate Neutrality brings together leading recommendations of think tanks, scientists, thought leaders and NGOs to offer a policy blueprint for how best to propel Europe towards net zero carbon emissions in the coming five years of the Von der Leyen term. It offers sector-by-sector analysis, targets and initiatives in the fields of governance, finance, industry, energy, transport, the circular economy, agriculture and employment.

On circular economy, the report identifies challenges in:

  • a lack of EU targets for waste prevention, reuse, repair and refurbishment
  • no monitoring framework for material flows
  • contamination of materials by hazardous ingredients
  • high demand for biomass

The authors identify opportunities in job creation, cleaner supply chains and product policies.

BlueCity revitalises abandoned Rotterdam water park into circular laboratory

BlueCity, Rotterdam

The BlueCity business park is one of Rotterdam's unique landmarks: formerly a water park resort, the complex is now a circular incubator housing over 30 startups experimenting towards a sustainable future.

"+Ricicli +Viaggi" makes it possible to pay for metro rides with plastic bottles

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Country: 
Italy

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The Roman public transport provider, Atac, has launched +Ricicli +Viaggi (the more you recycle, the more you travel), a pilot scheme in which riders can pay for travel with PET plastic bottles.

Circular jobs in Belgium - A baseline analysis of employment in the circular economy in Belgium

Circular jobs in Belgium - A baseline analysis of employment in the circular economy in Belgium

KBF infogrpahic on circular jobs in Belgium

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Author: 
Circle Economy, King Baudoin Foundation, Inoopa
Publication Date: 
09/2019
Country: 
Belgium

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Contact: 
Anneke Ernon

From shoemaker to wind energy park engineer: 7.5% of all jobs in Belgium are circular. This report presents a baseline measurement of employment in the Belgian circular economy and provides insights into the nature and number of jobs in the country’s circular economy. This includes all jobs contributing to the circular economy through activities in renewable energy, repair and maintenance, recycling, digital technology, design, new business models and collaboration.

Monitoring the employment effects of the circular economy will discern what specific employment opportunities the circular economy has to offer, how these are distributed across society and how we can equip the workforce with the right skills to meet changing demand.

This report, conducted by the King Baudouin Foundation and the Dutch social enterprise Circle Economy, aims to inform governments, employers, social partners and other representatives with a view to pursuing effective and inclusive circular labour policy.

An online monitor, which the partners will update regularly, complements the report.

26 Sep 2019

About 50 per cent of the greenhouse gas emissions are related to materials and the manufacturing of products. Strong Circular Economy policies are therefore needed to meet the climate goals. Ecopreneur.eu has worked out far-reaching proposals as input for the EU Green Deal.

1 Oct 2019
circle economy product as a service infographic

Circle Economy launched a tool to close the knowledge gap between entrepreneurs and financiers: the Product-as-a-Service Question Kit helps overcome this barrier by leading both parties through a series of questions they need to ask themselves before starting their conversation.

20 Sep 2019
circular jobs in belgium cover page

From shoemaker to wind energy park engineer: 7.5% of all jobs in Belgium are circular, shows new analysis by the King Baudouin Foundation and Circle Economy. The baseline measurement of employment in the Belgian circular economy provides insights into the nature and number of jobs in the country’s circular economy.

20 Sep 2019
circular plastics alliance declaration

On 20 September 2019, more than 100 public and private partners covering the whole plastics value chain signed the declaration of the Circular Plastics Alliance, which promotes voluntary actions for a well-functioning EU market in recycled plastics.

24 Sep 2019
completing the picture report logo

As global leaders gather in New York for Climate Week NYC in September 2019, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation has issued a new paper, in cooperation with Material Economics, revealing the need for a fundamental shift in the global approach to tackling climate change. As set out in Completing the Picture: How the Circular Economy tackles Climate Change, moving to renewables can only address 55% of global greenhouse gas emissions. To achieve UN climate goals, the paper highlights the urgent need to tackle the remaining 45%.

Completing the Picture: How the Circular Economy Tackles Climate Change

Completing the Picture: How the Circular Economy Tackles Climate Change

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Author: 
Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Material Economics
Publication Date: 
09/2019
Country: 
EU

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Renewable energy is not enough. There needs to be a fundamental shift in the global approach to tackling climate change and the circular economy can play an essential role.

Completing the Picture: How the Circular Economy Tackles Climate Changea paper published by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, tells us:

  • Greenhouse gas emissions are not dropping quickly enough to achieve climate targets and switching to renewable energy can only cut them by 55%
  • The remaining 45% of emissions come from how we make and use products, and how we produce food

Whilst the circular economy is underpinned by renewable energy, the paper concentrates on five key areas (cement, plastics, steel, aluminium, and food) to illustrate how designing out waste, keeping materials in use, and regenerating farmland can reduce these emissions.

24 Sep 2019
Circular Week 2019

Circular economy, the new concept for attaining sustainable consumption and production, will not be implemented without multisectoral and international cooperation. INNOWO, Circular Change, INCIEN Czechia, and INCIEN Slovakia are launching the International Circular Week this year to promote circular economy across countries. This International Circular Week will take place from 7 to 13 October 2019, and aims to engage all circular stakeholders in central Europe and beyond.

Elephant in the Boardroom: Why Unchecked Consumption is Not an Option in Tomorrow’s Markets

Elephant in the Boardroom: Why Unchecked Consumption is Not an Option in Tomorrow’s Markets

wri report logo
Author: 
Samantha Putt del Pino, Eliot Metzger, Deborah Drew, Kevin Moss
Publication Date: 
03/2017
Country: 
EU

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The Elephant in the Boardroom: Why Unchecked Consumption is Not an Option in Tomorrow’s Markets is a working paper from the World Resources Institute that can guide discussion within companies about an uncomfortable truth: many of today’s business models are not fit for tomorrow’s resource-strained world.

Normalizing the conversation will set the groundwork for the pursuit of new business models that allow growth within the planet’s limits and generate stakeholder value in new and exciting ways.

Exploring and evaluating Business Showcases from the Circular Economy Industry Platform

Exploring and evaluating business showcases from the circular economy industry platform

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Author: 
Lukas Stumpf
Publication Date: 
11/2018
Country: 
EU

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This research, 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 political perspective.

Content analysis was applied to derive qualitative and quantitative information from company statements on the platform. 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 overall environmental impacts, with some projects using purely qualitative assessment methods, while other projects presented elaborate quantitative environmental evaluations, including significant positive impact potential. Regulatory challenges were specifically reported regarding the introduction of sound circularity quotas and targets, regarding definitional ambiguities, as well as regarding issues around unknown material compositions that currently impede recirculation.

New Plastics Economy 2019 Global Commitment Report

New Plastics Economy Global Commitment June 2019 Report logo

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Author: 
Ellen MacArthur Foundation
Publication Date: 
06/2019
Country: 
EU

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The New Plastics Economy Global Commitment unites businesses, governments, and other organisations behind a common vision and targets to address plastic waste and pollution at its source. It is led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in collaboration with the UN Environment Program. Launched in October 2018, the Global Commitment already unites more than 400 organisations in its common vision of a circular economy for plastics, keeping plastics in the economy and out of the ocean. Signatories include:

  • close to 200 businesses that are part of the plastic packaging value chain, jointly representing over 20 % of all plastic packaging used globally, including many of the world’s leading consumer packaged goods companies, retailers, and plastic packaging producers
  • 16 governments across five continents and across national, regional, and city level
  • 26 financial institutions with a combined USD 4.2 trillion worth of assets under management and 6 investors in total committing to invest about USD 275 million
  • leading institutions such as WWF, the World Economic Forum, the Consumer Goods Forum, and IUCN
  • more than 50 academics, universities, and other educational or research organisations including MIT Environmental Solutions Initiative, Michigan State University, and University College London.

All 400+ organisations have endorsed one common vision of a circular economy for plastics, in which plastics never become waste. As this June 2019 report shows, the number of business signatories has grown from over 100 to nearly 200 in the seven months since the launch.

Rapporto sull'Economia Circolare in Italia 2019

rapporto sull economia circolare 2019

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Author: 
ENEA, Circular Economy Network
Publication Date: 
04/2019
Country: 
Italy

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In March 2019, the Italian Circular Economy Network hosted a national conference on the circular economy, where it presented this Report on the Italian circular economy in 2019. Based on the methodology used, comparing the 5 most important European economies, Italy is the top performer in terms of circular economy implementation, ahead of the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Spain (in this order). While Italy’s position has remained unchanged compared to the previous year, there are some small signs of a slowdown which must be taken into account.

The report makes the following 10 proposals for a circular economy in Italy:

  • Spread and enrich circular vision, knowledge, research and good practices
  • Implement a national strategy and action plan
  • Improve the use of economic instruments
  • Promote a regenerative bio-economy
  • Integrate circular principles in public procurement
  • Promote city initiatives
  • Ensure rapid and effective implementation of the 2018 EU waste framework legislation
  • Rapidly activate an effective end of waste (EoW) regulation
  • Ensure the necessary business support infrastructure
  • Extend circular principles to e-commerce

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