ECOVATION 2018 is a two-day conference on innovation and Sustainability in Public Procurement organised by the Austrian Service Center for Public Procurement Promoting Innovation on behalf of the Federal Ministries for Digital and Economic Affairs; Transport, Innovation and Technology.
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Scotland has been selected as this year's host nation for Circular Economy Hotspot. Zero Waste Scotland plans to host #CEHotspotScot as a major international event and trade mission to showcase Scotland's progressive approach to developing a circular economy and the best of our burgeoning circular businesses to a global audience.
The unmissable programme will include visits to pioneering Scottish businesses, sessions led by the country's foremost names in circular economy policy and innovation, and extensive networking opportunities.
On the 22nd of October, the European Resource Efficiency Knowledge Centre will hold a workshop in Vienna, Austria, on the topic of SMEs, circularity and Cluster organisations .
With more than 1.000 participants over two days, the Congress for resource efficiency and the circular economy is one of the leading conferences on the topic in Germany. In 19 hours 90 different speakers provide input in keynotes and around 15 workshops. Additionally, there is an exhibition part with stands of involved stakeholders.
The Umweltbundesamt will host the 4th European Resources Forum in Berlin from 27 to 28 November 2018. The ERF is a platform for discussion on the issue of sustainable resource use by focusing on the political and scientific debate on this subject and seeks to contribute to the development and implementation of common positions for policy-making in Europe and internationally.
Raubersachen (robbers' loot in German) applies the concept of product-as-a-service to baby clothes, providing parents with a ecological woollen alternatives by refurbishing disposed baby and toddler clothes and renting these out, thus reducing the amount of cheap, low-quality products being bought and keeping baby clothes in circulation far longer.
The European Bioeconomy Congress Lodz 2018 will be held on September 24th, 2018, in Lodz, Poland to support the development of a bioeconomy in the Central and Eastern European Bioregions.
The Estonian Ministry of Environment is organising its first conference on the circular economy for entrepreneurs in retail, mining and manufacturing 17-18 September in Tallinn. This conference will showcase innovative activities and circular business models to entrepreneurs, who can also benefit from one-on-one counselling and specialised workshops for free.
The climate conference in Paris has produced a landmark agreement. The emission reduction commitments made by 195 countries are a leap forward, but not yet sufficient to stay on a 2 °C trajectory, let alone a 1.5 °C pathway. Current commitments address only half the gap between business as usual and the 1.5 °C pathway. There is still a reduction of about 15 billion tonnes CO2e needed to reach the 1.5 °C target. Further solutions are therefore needed; solutions that go beyond decarbonising our energy system. This white paper by Ecofys and Circle Economy looks into the contribution a global circular economy could presumably make to bridging the emissions gap.
Since over half of the worldwide greenhouse gas emissions are associated with producing basic materials, there is a clear role for circular economy strategies in reducing this gap. To do this, the circular economy describes a practical and scalable landscape of opportunities by moving towards business models for an economy that is by design regenerative and as waste free as possible. Strategies at the heart of the circular economy include measures to reduce the input of virgin materials, improve the use of existing assets and reduce the output of waste. Circular economy strategies related to materials are: recovery and reuse, lifetime extension, sharing and service models, circular design and digital platforms.
Circular Economy and Employment first summarizes the main definitions and conceptualisations of a circular economy, then clarifies the relationship to related concepts such as green growth and eco-innovation. This report is the outcome of a project estimating the employment effects of a circular economy.
The Circular Economy mainly focuses on savings on the shares of material, labour, energy, and capital embedded in the product. In finite systems it is intended to “design out waste”. An important difference is made between consumables (one or few time usage) and durables (years of usage) products. Material savings can be achieved by already established recycling and remanufacturing activities finally aiming at a “zero waste economy”. More recently, the contribution of green ICT leading to less material inputs (“digital revolution”, e.g. photos are no longer printed but distributed by e-mail or social media), a general greater importance of services, the evolution of the sharing economy (e. g. car sharing) or a higher utilisation rate for products for the circular economy are discussed.
Detailed concepts of green growth from OECD, UNEP, EEA and the Global Green Growth Institute are also considered. Green growth means fostering economic growth and development while ensuring that natural assets continue to provide the resources and environmental services on which our well-being relies. Investment and (eco-) innovation activities shall give rise to new, more sustainable sources of growth and development. Moving towards a circular economy may be understood as a tool to achieve a green economy, a circular economy is one of the main elements helping to achieve the greening of an economy.
Britain faces huge economic challenges in its use of labour and scarce natural resources. Although unemployment is now falling, the risk of being out of work is higher in some regions and for some types of occupations. While Britain has significantly increased its resource efficiency in recent years, supply risks in an increasingly competitive global economy mean that we need to get better at using natural resources. A new research study, undertaken jointly by WRAP and the Green Alliance, shows that these challenges are linked: improving our resource efficiency can make a valuable contribution to improving Britain’s labour market situation.
One route to improving resource efficiency is to develop a circular economy. This involves keeping products and resources in use for as long as possible through recovery, reuse, repair, remanufacturing and recycling. In addition to protecting the environment, this potentially offers substantial economic benefits. These include greater economic stability through increased resource security and new business and employment opportunities from an expanding industrial sector. This study focuses on the second aspect and identifies the scope for the growth of the circular economy to offer new jobs.
The study finds that regions where unemployment is higher, such as the North East and the West Midlands, could see the greatest impact on job creation, especially among low to mid-skilled occupations where job losses are projected for the future.
The study finds that if we stay on the current development path for the circular economy in Britain, then by 2030 the sector could:
- require an extra 205,000 jobs;
- reduce unemployment by around 54,000; and
- offset 11% of future losses in skilled employment.
Alternatively, under a transformational scenario where there was a more extensive expansion of circular economy activities, by 2030 the sector could create over half a million jobs, reduce unemployment by over 100,000 and potentially offset around 18% of the expected future losses in skilled employment.
To ensure that policymakers and governments know how and where to implement the circular economy effectively, there is a great need for practical tools to measure it.
Aimed at defining, identifying and quantifying employment opportunities that are needed in the circular economy, Circle Economy and the Erasmus Research Institute for Happiness Economics (Ehero) have developed a standardised and replicable methodology that measures circular employment in cities around the world. This opens up the possibility of monitoring circular employment and therefore empowers cities and governments to effectively invest in the jobs of the future.
The initial findings of this joint research show that 8.1% of all jobs in the Netherlands are currently circular. Once identified, the circular jobs were categorised according to the seven key elements of the circular economy, showing that a large majority are focused on ‘incorporating digital technology’ and ‘preserving and extending what’s already made’. In the past fifteen years, activities that involve ‘repair & maintenance‘ have remained stable in numbers, with the ‘incorporation of digital technologies’ becoming an up and coming job provider. This points to the importance of knowledge-intensive industries and innovation within the Dutch economy.
In Ghent, Belgium, the circular economy brings together companies, institutions, governments and citizens on the way to sustainability. The Old Dockyards is a waterfront housing project where closing loops at the district level is key. Approximately 1,500 housing units will be constructed through public-private partnerships (PPPs).
Luxembourg's new National Waste and Resource Management Plan includes measures and guidelines for the implementation of the amended Waste Management Act of March 21, 2012. It analyzes the situation regarding waste management and lists measures that will be taken to ensure the re-use, recycling, recovery and disposal of waste in the most environmentally friendly conditions while remaining in line with the national and European legislative context. The prevention program is integrated in the text of the national plan and introduces a whole-system approach for waste prevention.
The overall objective of the NWRMP is to protect the environment, cultural property and human health by preventing and reducing the harmful effects of waste. In addition, waste management has long-term goals, including conservation of resources, climate protection and impacts for future generations.
This plan represents a considerable step in the transition towards a circular economy, and builds on the principles of a sober and responsible consumption of natural resources, the optimisation of product life cycles, opportunities for re-use or failing that, waste recycling.
The NWRMP, among others, includes the following ambitious targets for 2022:
- reducing food waste by 50%;
- 65% collection rate of electric and electronic waste;
- less than 10% of all municipal waste going to landfill.
The plan was also drafted in consultation with stakeholders and citizens over a 3-year period. This included thematic workshops on municipal waste, food waste, construction & demolition waste and treatment plant waste. The plan also received input through the May 2017 'National Waste Day' and further public consultations in Spring 2018. Its implementation willl be overseen by the Ministry for Sustainable Development and Infrastructure's environmental agency for the period 2018 - 2022.
The Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Utrecht University, the Netherlands and Deloitte have jointly carried out research on barriers to the Circular Economy (CE) in the European Union. For this research, a survey with 153 businesses, 55 government officials and expert interviews with forty-seven thought leaders on the circular economy from businesses, governments, academia and NGOs have been carried out. Two types of barriers emerged as main barriers.
Firstly, there are the cultural barriers of lacking consumer interest and awareness as well as a hesitant company culture. This finding is at odds with claims that the circular economy concept is hyped; rather, the concept may be a niche discussion among sustainable development professionals.
Secondly, market barriers emerged as a core category of barriers, particularly low virgin material prices and high upfront investments costs for circular business models.
Government intervention might be needed to overcome the market barriers which then may also help to overcome cultural barriers. Cultural barriers do also need to be overcome by circular start-ups. And, even though there is still no circular startup that has made global headlines, this may change soon.
This short term assignment for Circular Flanders aims to provide an inventory of indicators that are relevant to monitor the transition to a circular economy and to measure the effects of new policy and trends. The inventory of indicators is based on scoreboards and monitoring frameworks developed by the EU and reports by JRC and EEA. This list is supplemented with indicators known by the authors and a literature search, representing a first step towards the development of a circular economy index.
The scope of indicators varies largely, e.g. material flow indicators can focus on global figures, but also on a specific substance content in a component. In this study we distinguish between macro, meso and micro level indicators. An extensive list of indicators discussed in literature and related to the circular economy is developed, of which a selection is discussed more in detail in fact sheets. The fact sheets report different aspects of the indicator: definition and scope, data availability, level of detail, future developments, links to circular economy and the availability of a benchmark (policy targets, …). Indicators related to the circular economy can be classified according to different criteria.
To have a visual overview of some important characteristics of the indicators assessed in this study, they are classified on 3 axes that represent different criteria:
- Micro, meso, macro level
- CE strategies
- Technology versus socio institutional
The study shows that lack of data (from macro to micro) and time and effort constraints (from micro to macro) are key barriers to link indicators on a macro/meso level on the one hand with indicators on a micro level on the other hand. Another observation is that existing indicators focus primarily on physical parameters, like kilograms, that are more technology-related. Indicators focusing on socio-institutional aspects are less well-defined and less frequently included in monitoring frameworks. The same applies for high-level circularity strategies. Very few indicators capture the effect of strategies that relate to smarter product use & manufacture and extending the life span of products. A transition to a circular economy may not be looked at from a material perspective only, but should include also other environmental impacts such as climate change. Indicators monitoring environmental impacts exist already and can easily be combined and integrated in a set of indicators for monitoring the circular economy.
With respect to future monitoring of developments of circularity indicators, several initiatives are ongoing on a European level to define a set of indicators that are useful for monitoring the circular economy, based on existing indicators. In parallel, researchers are working on the definition and methodology development of additional indicators that focus on aspects particular to the circular economy that are not yet captured by existing indicators, like reuse and remanufacturing strategies.
The Dutch Government has outlined its plans for the transition to a circular economy in the government-wide circular economy policy programme, entitled ‘A circular economy in the Netherlands by 2050’. A monitoring system is required to determine whether this transition is progressing as planned, a proposal for which is made in this report. This monitoring system will document ‘what we want to know, and what we can already measure’ (the latter being the baseline assessment).
In the monitoring system, a distinction is made between the desired effects and the transition process that needs to take place to bring about these effects. The most important desired effect of the transition to a circular economy is a reduced consumption of natural resources. This will result in fewer environmental effects (e.g. due to greenhouse gas emissions) and reduce our dependence on natural resource imports, and therefore increase resources supply security. Reducing natural resource consumption requires circularity strategies, for example by extending the lifetime of products and product components, such as for smartphones, or through encouraging the sharing of certain products, such as cars. This will call for efforts to ensure that such circularity strategies are adopted, for example by encouraging cooperation between product chain partners, removing regulatory barriers and designing circular products. This is a complex and, initially, slow process. Furthermore, it will take a while before the effects can be seen. Monitoring of both the transition process and its effects, therefore, is relevant.
In this report, we propose indicators for monitoring both the transition process and the effects achieved. We are already able to monitor the effects to some extent, in particular the effects of natural resource consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and waste and waste treatment. These effects are being monitored for the Netherlands as a whole and for the five priority themes of the government-wide programme: biomass and food, plastics, manufacturing, construction, and consumer goods. Transition teams have been appointed for each priority theme and have each drawn up a transition agenda (published at the same time as this report).
Not all the indicators proposed in the monitoring system can currently be measured; this applies in particular to those relating to the transition process. The monitoring system described in this report should therefore be regarded as a growth model. The aim is to develop the monitoring system further in the coming years, together with other knowledge institutes and partners involved in the five transition agendas.
The Circular Businesses Conference aims to promote a broad mobilization of stakeholders from the primary, industry and services sectors, together with the public actors and the citizens around the challenges and the opportunities created by the development of a circular economy.
Kalundborg Symbiosis is a partnership between nine public and private companies in Kalundborg, Denmark.
The Upper Autrian Cleantech-Cluster networks all actors from the resource supplier, to the manufacturer, industrial researcher, to mechanical engineers, recyclers, and disposers in order to find joint solutions and develop new technologies. We cooperate with our 10 cluster initiatives in the Upper Austrian business support agency and 2000 partner companies, whose activities range from plastics, to automotive, furniture and wood construction, food, medical technology, mechatronics, IT, logistics, and HR, In order to support projects for SMEs in particular, the cluster also supports EU funding applications, thus offering its partners an internationally mature circular economy toolbox.
THEMES and EXPERTISE in the network:
- Material efficiency in production
- Circular design
- Business Models
- Initial and continuing education
- Cross-sector networking with researchers, companies, associations (regional, national, international)
- Project development
- Project Management
- Process support through conception, moderation of workshops, work meetings, events
- Funding advice
‘The City as a Business Model’ seminar is being organised as part of Nijmegen's European Green Capital activities on October 4th.
The workbook 'Organising for the Circular Economy - A Workbook for Developing Circular Business Models' supports companies and other organisations that aim to become circular by providing a unique model that highlights the various building blocks of circular business models.
A concrete step-by-step approach allows organisations to work on the development of their own circular business model. To clarify and inspire, a set of infographics displaying the cycles of 30 front-runner organisations from the Netherlands, which already actively incorporate circularity in their business operations, is provided alongside the workbook.
The workbook and infographics can be downloaded free of charge from this website.
Starbucks target is to phase out plastic straws from its more than 28,000 stores worldwide by 2020, a decision that will eliminate more than 1 billion straws a year.
Over the last decade, the concept of the circular economy has regained attention, especially related to efforts to achieve a more sustainable society. The ‘revival’ of the circular economy has been accompanied by controversy and confusion across different actors in science and practice. With this article the authors attempt at contributing to advanced clarity in the field and providing a heuristic that is useful in practice. Initially, they take a focus on the historical development of the concept of circular economy and value retention options for products and materials aiming for increased circularity.
The authors propose to distinguish three phases in the evolution of the circular economy and argue that the concept – in its dominant framing – is not as new as frequently claimed. Having established this background knowledge, they give insights into ‘how far we are’ globally, with respect to the implementation of circularity, arguing that high levels of circularity have already been reached in different parts of the globe with regard to longer loop value retention options, such as energy recovery and recycling. Subsequently, the authors show that the confusion surrounding the circular economy is more far reaching. They summarize the divergent perspectives on retention options and unite the most common views using a 10R typology.
From their analyses, the authors conclude that policymakers and businesses should focus their efforts on realization of the more desirable, shorter loop retention options, like remanufacturing, refurbishing and repurposing – yet with a view on feasibility and overall system effects. Scholars, on the other hand, should assist the parties contributing to an increased circular economy in practice by taking up a more active role in attaining consensus in conceptualizing the circular economy.