On 28 March 2019 the Economy Circular Chair (ESCP Europe & Deloitte) and the European Research Project R2Pi are co-organising an event (at ESCP Europe Business School, Paris) which focuses on various types of circular economy partnerships among enterprises (firm-centric, consortium and market-based).
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Innovation and investments
Slovenian companies and the circular economy
Since 2000, the “Slovenian Entrepreneurship Observatory” publishes a report annually providing analysis of the situation of Slovenian companies and insight into Slovenian entrepreneurship. In 2018 this report had a thematic focus on the circular economy (CE), with the authors centring in on the drivers and barriers to SMEs integrating CE into business practice.
This report first provides a theoretical framework for the CE, which aims to raise awareness and facilitate information exchange between companies and individuals looking to spread circular innovation. Simultaneously this report also provides an overview of the barriers companies face in transitioning towards circularity, which include a lack of comparable indicators to benchmark and track progress; cost of eco-design; administrative burden; access to finance and a lack of awareness about the concept itself: in 2017, a survey of businesses indicated only 32% had some understanding of what a circular economy is. This survey also revealed businesses perceive economic, environmental and regulatory opportunities as the main drivers towards circularity.
The report concludes with practical aspects of CE implementation at the level of enterprises, presenting a case study which highlights the situation and the possible use of eco-design in Slovenian SMEs operating in the construction sector and conclusions with recommended steps to overcome the barriers identified.
The VUB-ULB research chair "Transitioning Belgian companies into Circularity" organises its first interactive seminar entitled "What can cities, companies and citizens do?" .
Scaling the Circular Built Environment: pathways for business and government
The built environment, consuming almost half of the world's resources extracted every year and responsible for a massive environmental footprint, is a fundamental sector in the circular transition.The circular economy has great potential to help meet global sustainability targets and the Paris Agreement's goals in particular.
Moving towards a circular built environment involves a shift in roles and business models for stakeholders active in this sector. However, barriers related to culture, regulations, market, technology and education are slowing down the transition.
The private and public sector need to create a level playing field in order for circular materials, products and services to become the new normal in the built environment. This requires bold leadership from both companies and policy-makers who have to transform the market (e.g. by introducing new valuation methods) and implement long-term policies that encourage the scaling of circular solutions (e.g. through circular procurement). Standardization, new forms of collaboration and co-creation processes are essential elements in the transition. Digital innovation, education and information sharing can further drive the change in mindset and culture that is needed to turn the circular built environment into reality.
On March 19, GLOBE EU and the Center for European Policy Studies (CEPS) organised a conference to look back on what the 2014 - 2019 EU mandate has achieved for the circular economy and present GLOBE EU’s recommendations with priorities for the next European Commission.
The World Circular Economy Forum is a ground-breaking event that presents the best innovations for circular economy and gathers the most recognised experts and decision-makers in the field. Be at the epicentre of the circular economy in Helsinki, Finland, on 3 - 5 June 2019.
The Ellen MacArthur Foundation will be holding a public webinar on its Circular Economy in Cities suite of online resources for urban authorities on the 25th of March 2019.
Circular The Hague: transition to a sustainable economy
In this policy note, the City of the Hague outlines why a circular transition is necessary and what benefits it can provide to the city for its sustainable development. Continuing with a state-of-play, the note sketches out the policy framework at European, national and regional level to provide strategic context and introduce analysis of a non-exhaustive list of 143 ongoing circular projects in The Hague area. Links to further research show that making use of the opportunities a circular economy provides in the Construction, Procurement and Retail Trade sectors alone could substantially reduce carbon emissions and deliver 3,500 jobs in The Hague area.
Building on this research, the policy note indicates the city's priorities best lie in biomass, construction material and critical raw materials. To showcase possible next steps, the note provides a list of easily implementable projects and policies in these priority areas, while concluding with a stakeholder engagement strategy that should enable the city's administration to realise its goals for the priority sectors.
Ultra Thin White Topping is a road hardening innovation, applied to pilot projects in Frysland and Overijssel by Schagen Infra BV. To replace damaged asphalt sustainably, the company renovated the degenerated road surface using a thin layer of cement with polyseter fibers mixed in, thus reducing resource consumption and enabling full material recovery at end-of-life stage.
Mater‐Biopolymer - industrial regeneration and recovery of production residues in biopolyesters industry
Mater-Biopolymer is a company based in Patrica (Central Italy), 100% owned by Novamont, dedicated to the production of Origo-Bi, biodegradable biopolyesters of renewable origin, and to the development of new biopolymers.
The industrial site is the result of the reconversion of existing infrastructures and skills of an abandoned production plant for PET. It is a highly efficient plant able to ensure the highest quality and safety requirements and is equipped with a complex system of utilities, which contribute to minimizing costs and waste through recovery and reuse.
The Which sustainable future for plastic? conference, to be held in Brussels on 21 March, aims to stimulate the debate on the way plastic is produced, used and discarded.
Polyolefin Circular Economy Platform
The Polyolefin Circular Economy Platform (PCEP) is a European joint industry value chain initiative, founded by two plastics industry associations (EuPC and PlasticsEurope) in order to advance the circular economy by increasing the reuse and recycling of polyolefin-based products and the use of recyclates as raw material.
Polyofelins are the most widely used family of plastics. They are present in every day life and are fully recyclable. Their main products are high, low and linear low density polyethylene (HDPE, LDPE, LLDPE) and polypropylene (PP). Polyethylene (PE) and PP represent close to 50% of the total European plastic production and are largely utilized in various plastic applications.
PCEP recognises that a business-as-usual approach will not enable the proposed challenging target of 55% plastic packaging "preparing for re-use and recycling” by 2025, as outlined in the European Commission’s Circular Economy Package, so the platform will be working for a 5-10 year horizon based on effective, science-based solutions. It will initially focus on polyolefin-based packaging as it represents the application segment where highest quantities of valuable recycled raw materials can be generated.
PCEP is developing activities in the following areas of work:
- Development of packaging design guidelines and assessment.
- Innovation to increase the recyclability of flexible and rigid packaging.
- EU-wide quality standards for sorted plastics, harmonisation of test methods for recycled plastic materials and certification of plastic recycling operations.
- Innovation & development of end-use markets to encourage demand for recycled plastics.
- Stimulating innovation to improve mechanical recycling, conversion technologies and reuse.
- Driving the R&D of new technologies to convert non-mechanically recyclable plastics into feedstock for the production of new materials.
Love them, wear them out, wear them again: full repair service is part of this eco-responsible shoe line
Kavat produces durable and high-quality shoes made of sustainable materials by resorting to eco-friendly manufacturing processes, and also offers a shoe repair service.
Economía Circular y Empleabilidad de los Jóvenes en la Comunidad de Madrid
The Centro de Documentación Europea de la Universidad Francisco de Vitoria (European Documentation Centre, UFV) has completed a project titled Economía Circular y Empleabilidad de los Jóvenes en la Comunidad de Madrid (Circular Economy and Employability of Young People in the Autonomous Region of Madrid).
The outcomes include a report on communicating the circular economy through the lens of employment opportunities circular business models provide for young people. The project has also created a guide on communicating the circular economy to students, which introduces the subject, presents the 7R model and shows how innovative companies provide opportunities for employment in circular business.
Circular Economy - Future of the Development of Slovakia
The publication presents a state-of-play for Slovakia's circular economy transition and introduces its circular economy policies. It also contains interviews with representatives of the Slovak State administration, NGO representatives and scientists, as well as examples of good practices from municipalities, businesses, and NGOs.
NAFIGATE’s Hydal Biotechnology uses waste cooking oil to produce a fully biodegradable and biocompatible PHA biopolymer named Hydal (Polyhydroxyalcanoates). This is the first biopolymer of its kind being produced on an industrial scale at an affordable price.
Gumdrop Ltd is the first company in the world to recycle and process chewing gum into a range of products such as boots or phone covers that can be used in the rubber and plastics industry.