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Report

Circular Fashion Advocacy

circular fashion advocacy

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Author: 
Arthur ten Wolde
Publication Date: 
03/2019
Country: 
EU

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Contact: 
Arthur ten Wolde

According to Ecopreneur's proposal, the recommendations for advocacy messages and actions listed in this report should be used by the EU and other key stakeholders to develop a collaborative strategy and plan up to 2030 that supports a circular fashion economy.

In addition, philanthropic funders should connect and build the advocacy capacity of non-profit organisations that support the circular economy and a circular fashion sector. This is particularly important given the strong influence of lobbyists advocating for the ‘linear’ status quo.

A key message would be to urge the EU to move first to create a circular fashion economy, because it provides a huge economic opportunity, both for Europe and for producing countries; globally, overall annual benefits are estimated by Eurochambres to amount to € 161 billion.
For the fashion industry to realise the economic, social and environmental benefits of a circular economy, immediate action and longterm commitment towards advocacy are needed.

Scaling the Circular Built Environment: pathways for business and government

scaling the circular built environment cover page

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Author: 
WBCSD, Circle Economy
Publication Date: 
12/2018
Country: 
Switzerland

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Contact: 
Brendon Edgerton
Harald Friedl

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.

Deposit-refund systems in Europe for one-way beverage packaging

Deposit-refund systems for one-way beverage packaging

ACR+ DRS report cover

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Author: 
Bilyana Spasova
Publication Date: 
03/2019
Country: 
Spain

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Contact: 
Philippe Micheaux-Naudet

Within the discussion on possible instruments that policy-makers can use to achieve waste collection targets and implement the 2015 Circular Economy Action Plan, deposit-refund systems (DRS) are often cited as a promising & useful policy tool. Such DRS ask consumers to pay an additional visible amount of money – a “deposit” – on top of the product price and then refund this money back if the consumer brings back the product (or its empty packaging) to an approved collection point.

In this report, ACR+ explored DRS experiences across ten European countries: Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden. Relying on available facts and data, the report presents an informative overview of existing examples and approaches in Europe for one-way beverage packaging. This analysis concludes that the launch timing in relation to other waste management systems and the positive participation of producers are both decisive in determining the success of the system.

To learn more about the hands-on implementation of DRS in Europe, read the full report here.

Circular Economy - Future of the Development of Slovakia

Circular Economy - Future of the Development of Slovakia

CIRCULAR ECONOMY - FUTURE OF THE DEVELOPMENT OF SLOVAKIA

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Author: 
Slovak Environment Agency
Publication Date: 
02/2019
Country: 
Slovak Republic

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Contact: 
Tatiana Guštafíková

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.

Good practices in separate collection, sorting and recycling of steel for packaging

Good practices in separate collection, sorting and recycling of steel for packaging

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Author: 
APEAL
Publication Date: 
06/2018
Country: 
EU

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Contact: 
Steve Claus

With an average of 79.5% recycled across Europe in 2016, steel for packaging is already the most recycled packaging material in Europe.

This report compiles examples of good practices from countries across the EU showcasing the varied projects, systems and processes by which steel for packaging is recycled, bringing significant reduction in emissions, resource and energy use.

Steel, a permanent material that can be infinitely recycled to make high quality products, can be easily sorted from the waste stream owing to its magnetic properties which make it the most economical packaging material to collect, sort and recycle over and over again.

Good practices in separate collection, sorting and recycling of steel for packaging contribute to improving its recycling rate, but can also serve as a guide for any stakeholder interested in improving these essential steps in a circular perspective.

Enablers and Barriers to a Circular Economy

Enablers and Barriers to a Circular Economy

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Author: 
R2Pi Project
Publication Date: 
09/2018
Country: 
EU

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Contact: 
Raymond Slaughter

The report provides a simple, yet rich overview of the barriers and enablers of circular economy business models as identifed by stakeholders, drawing upon a range of interviews, workshops and events, and a survey conducted with representatives of the European business sector.

Within businesses, stakeholders have identified high-level commitment accompanied by long-term perspectives, the personal drive and attitudes of staff, as well as the promise of enhanced competitiveness as key in supporting the transition towards circularity. Yet, from an internal company perspective, a number of factors were highlighted as getting in the way of the transition. Difficulties in financing new business models, taxation systems, resistance to change and the perceived lack of consumer demand are key examples of obstacles that hamper the circular transformation.

Importantly, stakeholders have provided interesting insights into possible solutions and recommendations able to overcome the challenges posed by circular economy barriers: tax incentives, the development of wealth-measurement systems other than GDP, material passports and quality standards, to name a few. Future solutions should also focus on ensuring safe areas for innovation out of tendering calls, green public procurement and increased financial support.

 

Create a financeable circular business in 10 steps

create a financeable business in 10 steps

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Author: 
Aglaia Fischer, Elisa Achterberg
Publication Date: 
11/2016
Country: 
Netherlands

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Contact: 
Harald Friedl

When deciding on which circular strategies to implement, the financeability of a business is also affected. For example, product-service combinations are seen as a promising, future earning model, but they currently encounter considerable funding challenges such as securing stable cash flows, reducing risks and matching investments with payback periods. Additionally, evolving business strategies, including changing value propositions and chain collaborations, should be topics on the agenda. Enabling the transition towards these new business models is key to successfully implementing circular business strategies and future proofing our economy.

In order to better understand how these challenges could be addressed, Circle Economy and the Sustainable Finance Lab worked with circular business managers and financiers to identify ways to fund circular business strategies, a key element they desperately need to achieve. Building on this research the authors outline the following 10 Steps to Financeability in this report: 

  1. Decide on a logical starting point 
  2. Generate profit through multiple use cycles 
  3. Align incentives throughout the supply chain 
  4. Be transparent about the value proposition 
  5. Redefine the role of retail 
  6. Gradually transition to product-service systems by combining revenue models 
  7. Secure stable cash flows through a robust contract 
  8. Mitigate debtor risk 
  9. Match asset value, payback period and contract duration 
  10. Measure environmental impact on financial performance.

Circularity Gap Report 2019

Circularity Gap Report 2019

logo of 2019 circularity gap report

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Author: 
Circle Economy
Publication Date: 
01/2019
Country: 
Netherlands

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Contact: 
Harald Friedl

The Circularity Gap Report 2019 finds that the global economy is only 9% circular - just 9% of the 92.8 billion tonnes of minerals, fossil fuels, metals and biomass that enter the economy are re-used annually. Climate change and material use are closely linked. Circle Economy calculates that 62% of global greenhouse gas emissions (excluding those from land use and forestry) are released during the extraction, processing and manufacturing of goods to serve society’s needs; only 38% are emitted in the delivery and use of products and services.

It highlights the vast scope to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by applying circular principles - re-use, re-manufacturing and re-cycling - to key sectors such as the built environment. Yet it notes that most governments barely consider circular economy measures in policies aimed at meeting the UN target of limiting global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

This report thus highlights three key circular strategies which could be adapted throughout the economy to help limit global warming and gives examples:

  1. Optimising the utility of products by maximising their use and extending their lifetime. Ridesharing and carsharing already make it less important to own a car. Autonomous driving will accelerate this trend, potentially increasing the usage of each vehicle by a factor of eight. At the same time electric powertrains, intelligent maintenance programmes and software integration can enhance the lifetime of cars.
  2. Enhanced recycling, using waste as a resource. By 2050 there will be an estimated 78 million tonnes of decommissioned solar panels. Modular design would enable products to be easily disassembled, components to be re-used and valuable materials to be recovered to extend their economic value and reduce waste.
  3. Circular design, reducing material consumption and using lower-carbon alternatives. Bamboo, wood and other natural materials have the potential to reduce dependence on carbon-intensive materials such as cement and metals in construction. Instead of emitting carbon, these materials store it and will last for decades. They can be burnt to generate energy at the end of their life.

The report also provides recommendations for governments: while The Netherlands has set itself a target of becoming 50% circular by 2030 and 100% by 2050, most governments have yet to wake up to the potential of the circular economy. The report recommends joining up climate change and circular economy strategies to achieve maximum impact, through the use of tax and spending plans to drive change. They should:

  • Abolish financial incentives which encourage overuse of natural resources, such as subsidies for fossil fuel exploration, extraction and consumption;
  • Raise taxes on emissions, excessive resource extraction and waste production, for example by implementing a gradually increasing carbon tax;
  • Lower taxes on labour, knowledge and innovation and invest in these areas. Lower labour taxes will encourage labour-intensive parts of a circular economy such as take-back schemes and recycling.

Building Carbon Neutrality in Europe

Cemberau

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Author: 
CEMBUREAU - the European Cement Association
Publication Date: 
10/2018
Country: 
Belgium

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Contact: 
Nikos Nikolakakos

Europe has an ambitious vision of a carbon-neutral future, a vision that integrates energy-intensive industries as well as the construction sector and its entire value chain.

Cement, which binds concrete together, is at the heart of solutions to turn this vision into reality. These solutions span over the entire cement and concrete value chain: from raw materials to production, use, re-use, and recycling.

CEMBUREAU, the European Cement Association, as part of its effort to move towards a carbon-neutral construction sector, has taken stock of progress done since the publication of its 2050 Low Carbon Roadmap in 2013 and mapped routes to a resource-efficient and carbon-neutral built environment.

Building Value: A pathway to circular construction finance

Building Value: A pathway to circular construction finance

Building value image

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Author: 
Aglaia Fischer (Circle Economy / Sustainable Finance Lab)
Publication Date: 
01/2019
Country: 
Netherlands

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The transition to a Circular Economy requires innovative business models that stimulate optimised use of repairable products, reusable components and recycling of materials. A Community of Practice (CoP) has been established in which experts from different fields have collaborated to improve the financeability of circular construction. CoP members have engaged in a case of social housing corporation Eigen Haard. This report retraces the 'learning-by-doing' trajectory of this Community of Practice. It provides tools to unlock the potential of circular construction business models.

Five main lessons have been drawn from this exercise:

  1. Circular construction depends on the development of a market for used elements, products and materials.
  2. Unlocking the potential of circular construction requires new valuation methods, distinguishing between land and buildings.
  3. Circular construction can successfully be financed when risks and future potential are balanced. This can be supported by detailed financial modelling and leveraging key strengths of circular buildings as securities.
  4. Social housing corporations are ideally suited to implement circular economy business models since both favour long-term inclusive value above mere financial profits. 
  5. Collaboration and transparency support the creation of synergies between different fields of expertise (business, technical, legal, financial) to tackle the challenges of circular construction business models.

Report on Horizon 2020 R&I projects supporting the transition to a Circular Economy

Report on H2020 R&I projects supporting the transition to a Circular Economy

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Author: 
Anonymous
Publication Date: 
11/2018
Country: 
EU

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The European Commission has published a policy booklet presenting a selection of its research, science and innovation on climate change adaptation. In order to mitigate the impacts of climate change and to adapt to the changes that are already taking place or are impossible to avoid, fundamental changes in societies and behaviours all over the world – as well as scientific breakthroughs, both technological and social - will need to be made.

The objective of the report is to provide a snapshot of the numerous projects resulting from the calls for proposals of 2016-2017 in the Horizon 2020 priorities ‘Industrial leadership’ and ‘Societal Challenges’, that are contributing to the circular economy strategy.

Without aiming to be exhaustive or exclusive, the 156 listed projects represent a good sample of actions financed by Horizon 2020 in the different stages of a circular economy (production, consumption and waste).

The spectrum of priorities contemplated by the selected projects are very diverse and address more sustainable production in all kind of industrial processes, new bio-based and biodegradable products, substitution or recovery of raw materials, conversion of CO2 packaging, plastics, etc.

Destination: a circular tourism economy

Destination: a circular tourism economy

Destination: a circular tourism economy handbook cover

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Author: 
Centre for Regional & Tourism Research (CRT)
Publication Date: 
08/2018
Country: 
Denmark

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Destination: a circular tourism economy aims to increase the innovativeness of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) within the tourism sector by supporting the integration of circular economy elements into their services, products and business models. This handbook is the result of work carried out in the Interreg South Baltic innovation project, CIRTOINNO.

In addition to providing an overall understanding of the concept of circular economy and the specificities of tourism and the South Baltic partner regions, the CIRTOINNO handbook investigates and discusses the opportunities and barriers for tourism SMEs to adopt circular economy principles, and identifies best practices. Focusing on Hotels, Restaurants and Spas, the handbook provides overall recommendations to:

  • implement monitoring systems and strategies to reduce energy and water use
  • build relationships with suppliers to rethink material flows
  • train staff to improve resource use and reduce spillage

Circular Economy Finance Guidelines

CE Finance

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Author: 
ABN AMRO, ING, RABOBANK
Publication Date: 
07/2018
Country: 
Netherlands

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ABN AMRO, ING and Rabobank, all members of the FinanCE working group alongside FGGM and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, have published the first publicly available finance guidelines for the circular economy in July 2018 as input to the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.

These guidelines aim to promote and develop the role finance can play in the transition, beginning with a definition of the circular economy and circular economy finance. These banks perceive the latter as being "any type of instrument where the investments will be exclusively applied to finance or re-finance, in part or in full, new and/or existing eligible companies or projects in the circular economy". The guidelines themselves have four core components:

  1. Use of investments
  2. Process for Project Evaluation and Selection
  3. Management of Investments
  4. Reporting

By making these guidelines publicly available, these three Dutch banks are encouraging other financial institutions to follow suit and stimulating the development of a common understanding of the circular economy in the European financial sector.

100 Italian Circular Economy Stories

100 Italian Circular Economy Stories

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Author: 
Enel, Symbola
Publication Date: 
03/2018
Country: 
Italy

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Contact: 
CircularEconomy@ENEL

100 Italian circular economy stories compiles successful innovations from companies, research institutes and non-profits across 11 sectors throughout Italy. Their stories show the transition towards a circular economy is gaining traction on the ground as a sustainable alternative to the incumbent methods of production.

A circular economy will not happen through policy alone: it requires companies, start-ups, foundations, research centres, universities, consortia and associations to apply the principles of a circular economy to practice. This book features 100 such examples from Italy, including Aquafil's regenerated nylon yarn and Favini's non-virgin papers. The whole collection of stories ranges from across the following 11 sectors:

  • Clothing and accessories
  • Agri-food
  • Furniture / Construction
  • Industrial automation and other Manufacturing
  • Chemistry and Pharmaceutics
  • Research & Development
  • Electrics and Electronics
  • New Materials and Resources
  • Enablers and Platforms
  • Promotion and Dissemination

​​These 100 stories clearly demonstrate that change is underway by showing how Italian products are brought to market using increasingly integrated technologies and supply chains which exchange materials and energy. The diffusion of such circular processes will enable more and more companies to free themselves from using costly virgin resources, gradually rendering the whole economy more sustainable.

For reference with the Italian circular economy strategy, please check the 2017 white paper "Towards a model of circular economy in Italy"

Behavioural Study on Consumers’ Engagement in the Circular Economy

Behavioural Study on Consumers’ Engagement in the Circular Economy

Infographic explaining aims of behavourial study

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Author: 
LE Europe, VVA, Ipsos, ConPolicy, Trinomics
Publication Date: 
10/2018
Country: 
EU

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Contact: 
Jeroen van laer

To obtain empirical policy-relevant insights to assist with the implementation of the EU Circular Economy Action Plan, the European Commission requested a behavourial study that aimed to:

  1. identify barriers and trade-offs faced by consumers when deciding whether to engage in the CE, in  particular whether to purchase a more or a less durable good, whether to have a good repaired, or to discard it and buy a replacement;
  2. establish the relative importance of economic, social and psychological factors that govern the extent to  which  consumers engage in the CE, especially purchasing durable products and seeking to repair products instead of disposing of them; and
  3. propose policy tools to enable and encourage consumers to engage in CE practices related to durability and reparability.

The study focused on five products: vacuum cleaners, televisions, dishwashers, smartphones and clothes. The methodology encompasses a systematic literature review, 50 stakeholder interviews, consumer focus groups, an online consumer survey with 12,064 participants, and a behavourial experiment with 6,042 participants. Whereas the survey collected information on consumers' perception of and experiences with circular practices, the financially incentivised experiments included a repairing and purchasing task.

Findings include a general willingness to engage but little practical action to date. Consumers appear to be hampered by insufficiently developed markets for repair, reuse and refurbish in addition to a lack of information regarding product durability and repairability. Such information appeared seminal in shifting purchasing decisions towards sustainable products in the behavourial experiment, highlighting great potential to bridge the gap between theoretical and practical engagement. This experiment also uncovered substantial consistency between a self-reported circular mindset and corresponding behaviour.

As product size and price increases, consumers also appear to have greater interest in repairability and durability. Whereas repairability is linked to spare parts, durability appears to follow from perceived product quality. Overall this study concludes that the price-quality ratio, followed by convenience, is the most important driver and simultaneously barrier for consumer engagement in the circular economy. Building on these finidngs, the study makes 5 recommendations for policy action to enhance consumer engagement in the circular economy:

  • boost CE engagement by increasing awareness of the circular economy;
  • make repairing products easier;
  • create financial incentives for repairability and durability;
  • make information on durability and repairability available at point of sale;
  • strengthen legislation requiring the provision of accurate information to consumers.

Austria Glas Agenda 2030 - Future in Glass

Austria Glas Agenda 2030
Author: 
Austria Glas Recycling GmbH
Publication Date: 
10/2017
Country: 
Austria

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Contact: 
Marina Luggauer

Austria Glas Recycling Gmbh is setting the course for the future: the Austria Glas Agenda 2030, which it has developed together with stakeholders, experts and scholars, defines the orientation of the glass recycling system according to the sustainable development goals (SDGs).

The Austria Glass Agenda 2030 is pioneering work setting new impulses for the implementation of the SDGs. As one of the first companies in Austria, Austria Glas Recycling Gmbh is facing the challenge to implement the SDGs in all its business processes. The Austria Glas Agenda 2030 is the basis for future project developments of the glass recycling system.

In addition, the Austria Glas Agenda 2030 should serve as a role model for other sectors and inspire them to take action for the SDGs.

Circular Economy in the Furniture Sector: Overview of Current Challenges and Competence Needs

Circular Economy in the Furniture Sector: Overview of Current Challenges and Competence Needs

Circular Economy in the Furniture Sector: Overview of Current Challenges and Competence Needs

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Author: 
Ecores, University of Vaasa, CETEM - Technological Centre of Furniture and Wood, AMUEBLA - Innovative business association of furniture manufacturers and related in the Murcia Region, CENFIM - Home & Contract furnishings cluster, KIT - karlsruhe Institute of Technology
Publication Date: 
09/2018
Country: 
Spain

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Contact: 
Juan Jose Ortega (Amuebla) | Erwan Mouazan

The report ‘Circular Economy in the Furniture Sector: Overview of Current Challenges and Competence Needs’, provides an overview on how the circular economy is currently being implemented within the furniture sector.

By focusing on existing practices, challenges and opportunities at the micro-level, the main objective of this report is to identify the necessary skills and competences needed to support the transformation of furniture companies towards a circular economy.

Project partners identified 25 furniture companies active in the circular economy throughout Europe.

Interviews, held between March and May 2018 in Belgium, Finland, Germany, Spain, France, The Netherlands, Italy and Sweden, yielded insights on the necessary skills and competences needed to develop circular business models relevant for the furniture industry.

Finally, 10 examples of circular furniture cases are presented in the report. Examples show companies from different EU countries that have implemented different actions to work towards the circularity of the company, as well as specific examples of furniture products that are sustainable.

Beyond the CE package: Maintaining momentum on resource efficiency

Beyond the Circular Economy package

Aldershot group report image

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Author: 
Aldersgate Group
Publication Date: 
12/2017
Country: 
United Kingdom

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Despite resource efficiency improving 41% between 2000 and 2016,with  the Circular Economy Package and the initiatives set out in the accompanying Action Plan nearing completion, the EU institutions must acknowledge that the move to a more resource efficient or “circular” economy will take time. To invest in new business models, more resource-efficient processes and new supply chains for good quality secondary materials, businesses need the assurance that the resource efficiency agenda will remain a priority for the EU in the long term.

This briefing sets out a range of policy recommendations that the Aldersgate Group believe EU institutions should continue to pursue beyond completion of the Circular Economy Package to scale up business action on resource efficiency. These recommendations are based on business case studies, including some developed as part of the EU LIFE+ funded REBus project, which began in 2013 and on which the Aldersgate Group is a partner. By the end of 2016, pilots taking part in the REBus project (many of which involved SMEs), had already delivered a financial benefit of €5.62m, material savings in excess of 62,000 tonnes and a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions of just under 2,000 tonnes. These benefits have continued to grow since.

Recommendations based on the report's findings include:

  1. Pursuing work to include resource efficiency design criteria in product standards by delivering on the commitment to publish an updated Ecodesign Working Plan once a year and rapidly broadening the range of products subject to resource efficiency design criteria;
  2. Promote business innovation on resource efficiency, through continued financial support for business trials and broadening the sectors that receive technical support through the Commission’s Innovation Deals;
  3. Expand the use of circular economy criteria in the public procurement of a broadening range of products and encourage their application across EU Member States and EU institutions;
  4. Encourage Member States to develop pricing mechanisms that support material re-use where it is environmentally effective to do so; and
  5. Ensure a consistent implementation of the Circular Economy Package in different Member States. This is especially important in terms of the improved definitions of “waste” currently being negotiated by all three EU institutions, which must ensure that materials are no longer classified as “waste” when they can be re-used safely.

Circular City Governance: An explorative research study into current barriers and governance practices in circular city transitions across Europe

Circular City Governance

Circular City Governance cover page

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Author: 
Jan Jonker, Naomi Montenegro Navarro
Publication Date: 
11/2017
Country: 
Luxembourg

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Contact: 
Jan Jonker

Circular City Governance - An explorative research study presents the results of an empirical research study into current barriers and governance practices in circular city transitions across Europe carried out by a team from the Radboud University Nijmegen School of Management (NL). The research activities ran from October to December 2017. The main objective of the study was to support the European Investment Bank (EIB) and other members of the Urban Agenda Partnership on Circular Economy involved in the working group on “Circular City Governance” (CCG) with the identification, analysis and elaboration of actions in support of Circular Governance in Cities, particularly through better knowledge and better funding. At the time this report was completed, the UAPCE’s Action Plan had been recently published for public consultation.

The research study follows an empirical approach primarily focussed on the identification of (i) the most common barriers and challenges that are encountered by cities seeking to promote the circular economy, and (ii) the most important governance interventions cities have taken to initiate and advance in the transition to a circular city. This information was drawn from the analysis of selected case studies of circular economy projects in urban environments, various publicly available circular economy strategies, plans prepared by cities and interviews with experts and officials of front-runner cities that have embraced the CE agenda across Europe. The results of this research study should contribute towarads improving the general knowledge basis on the promotion of the CE in cities by presenting the experiences and main lessons learnt by cities at the forefront of the CE agenda.

Circular Economy in Cities: Evolving the model for a sustainable urban future

Circular Economy in Cities

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Author: 
World Economic Forum
Publication Date: 
03/2018
Country: 
Switzerland

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The World Economic Forum’s Future of Urban Development and Services Initiative has released its new White Paper on the Circular Economy in Cities: evolving the model for a sustainable urban future.

This White Paper traces the conceptual underpinnings of the Circular Economy, and explains why cities are key to accelerating the transition away from the traditional ‘take-make-dispose’ model. It draws on examples from cities around the world in areas that include: channelling used building materials to new building sites, water harvesting and reuse, reducing energy use, electronic waste, healthcare and procurement. It explains the opportunities in the Circular Economy for all stakeholders and the ways in which they can work together at city level.

Regulatory barriers for the circular economy

Regulatory Barriers for CE cover page

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Author: 
Technopolis Group, Fraunhofer ISI, Wuppertal Institute, thinkstep
Publication Date: 
11/2016
Country: 
Germany

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This report, commissioned by DG GROW and prepard by Technopolis and Franhofer ISI, identified major obstacles of regulatory nature or gaps within the existing legal framework where significant unlocked opportunities remain. The study includes an in-depth analysis of the identified obstacles and possible solutions through specific cases.

The analysis of specific regulatory barriers includes the full product lifecycle and focuses on the interfaces between different steps of the value chain (extraction/production, production/production internal loops, production/use, collection, waste-management/recycling/production). Barriers can be categorised within these 3 themes:

  • Several case studies identified regulatory barriers often related to lacking legislation that would allow the collection and pre-treatment of homogenous waste streams.
  • The second type of barrier refers to legislation that hinders the use of recycled materials in production processes
  • The third type of barrier is related to the lack of concrete and enforceable product requirements.

The analysis also highlights a variety of different generic types of barriers: in many cases waste legislation focuses on quantities (weight based collection or recycling targets) and not so much on the qualities of recycled materials. Inconsistencies between existing regulations, e.g. related to REACH or End-of-Waste criteria, have also been mentioned in a variety of case studies.

The study concludes that in general, high-quality recycling is definitely not prevented by regulatory obstacles, but by lacking or unclear legislation. Prime examples are End-of-Waste criteria or quality standards for secondary raw materials that create legal uncertainties for the industry that make it rational to continue to focus on primary raw material input.

Models of circular business ecosystem for textiles

Model of circular business ecosystem for textiles

Diagram of circular business ecosystem for textiles

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Author: 
Paula Fontell, Pirjo Heikkila
Publication Date: 
11/2017
Country: 
Finland

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Contact: 
Paula Fontell

The Relooping Fashion Initiative (2015-2017) was aimed at piloting and modelling the circular business ecosystem for textiles. This report covers the business ecosystem modelling work and introduces the project team’s crystallized vision of a higher-level system that enables the textiles industry to operate according to the basic principles of a circular economy. 

The focus of the report is on explaining the principles of a circular economy in the context of textiles, and drawing a picture of the key material flows and types of actors along the value cycles from end-user back to end-user. The overall goal is to maintain the value of materials as high as possible, with minimum environmental impact. The different circular business models for textiles are introduced along the value cycles. The report covers 1) repair and maintenance, 2) re-use as product, 3) re-use as material, and 4) recycling-related activities, and business models for post-consumer/user textiles along the entire value chain.

All these processes need to work seamlessly together for the circular business ecosystem to function effectively. New recycling technologies are crucial to solving the global textile waste problem, and to be able to replace some of the virgin materials such as cotton with recycled textile materials. The report also discusses the topic of shared value creation in the circular economy context.

The circular economy and the bioeconomy — Partners in sustainability

The circular economy and the bioeconomy — Partners in sustainability

EEA circular and bioeconomy report cover page

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Author: 
European Environmental Agency
Publication Date: 
08/2018
Country: 
Denmark

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'The circular economy and the bioeconomy — Partners in sustainability' is the third EEA report on the circular economy. It aims to support the framing, implementation and evaluation of European circular economy policy from an environmental perspective. It shows that the two policy agendas have similar objectives and areas of intervention, including food waste, biomass and bio-based products, and that they would benefit from stronger links, particularly in product and infrastructure design, and collaboration throughout the value chain.

The increasing demand for food, feed, biomaterials and bioenergy resources could worsen the over-exploitation of natural resources. By extending the lifetime of products and recycling materials, a circular, bio-economy approach can help retain material value and functionality for longer time as well as avoid unrecycled biowaste.

Promising innovations and strategies for circular biomass use include biorefinery, 3D printing with bioplastics, multi-purpose crops, better use of residues and food waste, and biowaste treatment. Consumers can also contribute by eating less animal-based protein, preventing food waste and separating biowaste from other waste streams.

Implementing the circular and bio-economy in tandem, by applying specific design principles within a systemic approach, would improve resource efficiency and reduce environmental pressures.

 

Circular Economy opportunities in the furniture sector

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Author: 
EEB, Eunomia
Publication Date: 
09/2017
Country: 
Belgium

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Sector:

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Contact: 
Stephane Arditi

This EEB and Eunomia report estimates the material consumption and CO2 emissions of the furniture sector at EU level and suggests some circular scenarios and policy options to grasp improvement opportunities.

Around a quarter of the world’s furniture is manufactured within the European Union – representing a €84 billion market that equates to an EU28 consumption of ~10.5 million tonnes of furniture per annum while employing approximately 1 million European workers and consisting of, predominantly, SMEs.

Businesses and consumers discard 10 million tonnes of furniture in EU Member States each year, the majority of which is destined for either landfill or incineration. There is minimal activity in higher-value circular resource flows, with remanufacturing accounting for less than 2% of the EU manufacturing turnover. In terms of furniture in particular, whilst reuse is common this tends to be on a small scale and with local social goals in mind.

Barriers to a circular furniture sector range from low quality materials, limited logistical infrastructure, poor demand for recycled materials to a wider range identified through the course of this research, informed through stakeholder consultation and literature review.

A move towards circular economy models within the European furniture sector would benefit from a variety of complimentary policy instruments to deal with market failures on the supply side (i.e. ensuring return of items and creating durable, refurbished and remanufactured items) and the demand side (creating demand for these products). The report concludes by estimating the impacts on additional tonnes reused & recycled, net carbon reduction and job creation these policy options might have separately. 

Various policy instruments thus have the potential to help overcoming the main barriers, with a need to address both supply side and demand side issues to provide both the market push and pull required. The logic suggests that a mandatory but simple Extended Producer Responsibility system, with gradually increasing targets for ‘preparing for reuse’ and separate recycling targets, would provide the most certainty in terms of positive outcomes.

 

 

Implementing Circular Economy globally makes Paris targets achievable

Implementing Circular Economy globally makes Paris targets achievable

Paris targets achievable title page

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Author: 
ECOFYS, Circle Economy
Publication Date: 
06/2016
Country: 
Netherlands

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Contact: 
Cornelis Blok
Preeti Srivastav

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.

Employment and the circular economy: Job creation in a more resource efficient Britain

Employment and the circular economy: Job creation in a more resource efficient Britain

Britain employment in CE report title page

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Author: 
WRAP, Green Alliance
Publication Date: 
12/2015
Country: 
United Kingdom

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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.

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