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Report

Breaking the Barriers to the Circular Economy

Deloitte UU white paper title page

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Author: 
Deloitte, Utrecht University
Publication Date: 
10/2017
Country: 
Netherlands

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Contact: 
Julian Kirchherr

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.

Indicators for a Circular Economy

Indicators for a Circular Economy - Cover

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Author: 
Vercalsteren An, Christis Maarten, Van Hoof Veronique
Publication Date: 
06/2018
Country: 
Belgium

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Contact: 
An Vercalsteren

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:

  1. Micro, meso, macro level
  2. CE strategies
  3. 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.

Circular Economy: what we WANT to know and CAN measure

title page of pbl report on measuring circular economy

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Author: 
Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, Statistics Netherlands, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment
Publication Date: 
01/2018
Country: 
Netherlands

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Contact: 
Jose Potting

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.

Moving in circles: Logistics as key enabler for a circular economy

Moving in circles: Logistics as key enabler for a circular economy

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Author: 
Verena Fennemann, Christian Hohaus, Jan-Philip Kopka
Publication Date: 
07/2018
Country: 
Germany

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The principle of Circular Economy is to keep raw materials within the economic cycle as long as possible while generating the lowest possible amount of waste and emission. To do so, end-of-life products and materials must be kept at the highest possible level of value creation according to their original use. Adapted logistical concepts to coordinate both material and information flows - in addition to innovative business models and new approaches to product design for recycling - are necessary to realise circularity in the economy.

The megatrend of digitalisation, especially through Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things, offers solutions that have not yet been applied extensively. Possible disadvantages of rebound effects due to Circular Economy and increased demand for resources caused by the deployment of digital technologies must also be taken into consideration. Due to its strong integration into the processes of production, there is scope for digitised management of resource and waste logistics to make a substantial contribution to a sustainable economy

The white paper discusses the various dimension of logistics that support the Circular Economy transition by reflecting upon the following trends: atomisation of shipments, information logistics and data sovereignty, new manufacturing technologies, autonomous systems in Industry 4.0 and Social Networked Industry. Uses cases are developed for each of these trends, whose respective impacts on respectively producers, consumers, recycling businesses and the environment are also analysed.

Further scenario analysis for both a gradual and radical transition to Circular Economy shows the differing impact these trends might have in varying intensity on manufacturing, logistics and recycling. The white paper concludes that logistics is crucial in all levels of the transition to a circular economy, as it forms the core of transporting goods, transferring information in self-organising supply chain networks and developing new business models. 

Social Circular Economy: Opportunities for People, Planet and Profit

Social Circular Economy Report cover

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Author: 
Social Circular Economy, Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, The Frank Jackson Foundation
Publication Date: 
07/2018
Country: 
United Kingdom

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Is the current circular economy paradigm enough? Will it get us to a fairer society and flourishing planet? Will it allow us to meet the UN's Sustainable Development Goals? Perhaps not. There could be a different way: by combining social enterprise and circular economy (= social circular economy), to deliver benefits to people, planet and profit.

​The Social Circular Economy report provides insights from our engagement with 30+ organisations from around the world that are using the value creating approaches of the circular economy to deliver environmental, societal and economic benefits. From a recycling hub supporting a disability rehabilitation centre to corporate uniform repurposing with women's collectives, there are organisations innovating business models and processes to do business better and help meet UN Sustainable Development Goals. This report covers:

  • What is the social circular economy?
  • What are the themes across social circular enterprises?
  • What are examples of these organisations?
  • How can you or your organisation participate?

Impacts of the circular economy policies on labour market

Impacts of circular economy policies on the labour market

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Author: 
ICF, Trinomics, Cambridge Econometrics
Publication Date: 
05/2018
Country: 
EU

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Contact: 
Juan Perez Lorenzo

How does a transition to a more circular economy affect jobs and skills demand in Europe?

This report looked at trends of circular economy activities across different sectors and quantified these activities as modelling inputs to provide employment changes for different sectors. The analysis also provides estimates of the occupational shifts and skills requirements that a shift to a more circular economy could entail.

The aim of this report is to develop an understanding of how a transition towards a more circular and resource efficient economy in Europe will affect labour markets across the Member States. Our analysis is the most comprehensive quantification of the EU jobs impacts from the circular economy to date. By using a fully integrated energy-environment-economy model (E3ME), our analysis considers both direct job losses and job creations that result from a shift to a more circular economy. It also captures indirect, induced and rebound impacts from interactions between sectors, Member States, and between economic, environment, material, energy and labour market indicators.

Our findings suggest that the EU is on the right track by making the circular economy a policy priority as circular economy policies will contribute to reducing negative environmental impacts, while simultaneously contributing to higher employment levels. By moving towards a more circular economy, GDP in the EU increases by almost 0.5% by 2030 compared to the baseline case. The net increase in jobs is approximately 700,000 compared to the baseline through additional labour demand from recycling plants, repair services and rebounds in consumer demand from savings generated through collaborative actions Although the magnitude of job creation is driven by our assumption of the rate of circular economy uptake in the scenarios, our analysis confirms that it is possible to become more resource efficient and increase employment at the same time.

Financement de l’économie circulaire

FDEC title page

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Author: 
Service public fédéral Economie, P.M.E., Classes moyennes et Energie
Publication Date: 
06/2018
Country: 
Belgium

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Contact: 
Sophie Cheron

Ce document est une synthèse des échanges qui ont eu lieu lors du séminaire « Financement de l’économie circulaire » organisé par le SPF Economie le 6 juin 2017 et réunissant les différents intervenants du secteur public et bancaire ainsi que des entrepreneurs de l’économie circulaire.

Il présente brièvement le concept de l’économie circulaire avant de développer les solutions de financement public et privé. Il souligne également les difficultés de financement auxquelles les entreprises et les banques sont confrontées.

Enfin, en comparant les initiatives belges en matière d’économie circulaire avec celles des pays voisins, ce document montre le rôle que la Belgique joue en Europe dans l’émergence de ce nouveau système économique. Différents points d’attention sont repris sous une rubrique « recommandations » à la fin du document.

Ook verkrijgbaar in het Nederlands.

 

Cerrar el círculo: el business case de la economía circular

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Author: 
Elena Ruiz , Paula Ruiz
Publication Date: 
07/2018
Country: 
Spain

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Contact: 
Elena Ruiz
Paula Ruiz

"Cerrar el círculo: el business case de la economía circular" (Closing the loop: the business case for a circular economy) is a report authored in 2018 by Foretica, which shows the latest trends in circular economy, a practical roadmap to guide companies towards a circular mindset as well as best practices from 9 companies that are leading the transition towards a circular economy in Spain.

Forética is a multi-stakeholder non-profit organisation working to promoting ethical and socially responsible policies at the core of institutional and corporate values. In 2017, Foretica launched the Circular Economy Action Group with 9 leading companies: Ecoembes, Endesa, Naturgy, IKEA Ibérica, ING, LafargeHolcim, Nestlé, OHL and Unilever.

Guia sobre Economia Circular i Verda al món local

Guide to Circular and Green Economy in the local world: How to get into action and tools for local entities

Guide to Circular and Green Economy in the local world: How to get into action and tools for local entities.

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Author: 
Xarxa de Ciutats i Pobles cap a la Sostenibilitat (Network for Cities and Towns towards Sustainability in Catalonia (Spain))
Publication Date: 
06/2018
Country: 
Spain

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The "Guide to Circular and Green Economy in the local world" was published as part of the 2016-2019 Business and Green Economy Economy Plan for Local authorities promoted by the Network of Cities and Peoples towards Sustainability. This guide is based on the experience of its authors as well as municipalities participating in the Workshops organised as part of the same Plan collaboration of the Generalitat of Catalonia. The respective contributions of the Business and Green Economy Plan working group channel important challenges and successes in promoting the circular economy by local authorites throughout this document.

The aim of the guide is to disseminate the circular economy concept and provide acitonable suggestions to local authorities (politicians, civil servants) in order to promote circular economy at different levels of governance, where the scope is both mainstreaming within public administration as well as private sector buy-in.

The guide first presents the concept of circular economy, strategies for implementation and the local authorities can play in this transition. The second part presents the steps a local entity can follow to define a strategy to boost the circular and green economy in its area. The guide also includes a workbook that with tools and materials to put into practice such a strategy and facilitate the transition to a circular economy.

Waste prevention in Europe - policies, status and trends in reuse in 2017

Waste prevention in Europe - policies, status and trends in reuse in 2017

Cover EEA report 4 2018

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Author: 
Henning Wilts, Bettina Bahn-Walkowiak, Ybele Hoogeveen
Publication Date: 
06/2018
Country: 
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, EU, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom

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Contact: 
Ybele Hoogeveen

This is the fourth EEA report in a series of annual reviews of waste prevention programmes in Europe as stipulated in the European Union (EU) Waste Framework Directive.

This review focuses on reuse and covers 33 national and regional waste prevention programmes that had been adopted by the end of 2017.

Article 11 of the Waste Framework Directive states that Member States should take appropriate measures to promote reuse and preparing for reuse such as encouraging the establishment and support of reuse and repair networks. The report describes how reuse is addressed in the waste prevention programmes and provides data on the status of and trends in reuse systems in Europe. Chapter 1 introduces the concept of waste prevention in a circular economy and describes the policy background. It explains the review's approach and defines key terms used. Chapter 2 investigates the existing waste prevention programmes, looking at their scope and reuse objectives, measures and indicators, as well as the sectors and stakeholders addressed. Chapter 3 examines the status of and potential for reuse for key product groups (i.e. textiles, electrical and electronic equipment, furniture, vehicles, and buildings and building components). Chapter 4 concludes with key findings and prospects for reuse in the context of the circular economy agenda.

The circular economy – a powerful force for climate mitigation

The circular economy – a powerful force for climate mitigation

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Author: 
Material Economics
Publication Date: 
06/2018
Country: 
Finland

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Contact: 
Sitra

This report investigates how a more circular economy can contribute to cutting CO2 emissions. It explores a broad range of opportunities for the four largest materials in terms of emissions (steel, plastics, aluminium, and cement) and two large use segments for these materials (passenger cars and buildings). The key conclusion is that a more circular economy can make deep cuts to emissions from heavy industry: in an ambitious scenario, as much as 296 million tons CO2 per year in the EU by 2050, out of 530 Mt in total – and some 3.6 billion tonnes per year globally. Making better use of the materials that already exist in the economy thus can take EU industry halfway towards net-zero emissions. Moreover, doing so often is economically attractive. Initiatives for a more circular economy therefore deserve a central place in EU climate and industrial policy.

Linear Risks

Linear Risks Report

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Author: 
Shyaam Ramkumar , Frido Kraanen, Rik Plomp , Brendan Edgerton , Arnoud Walrecht , Ines Baer, Peter Hirsch
Publication Date: 
05/2018
Country: 
Switzerland

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Contact: 
WBCSD

Society and businesses are becoming increasingly aware that the resources needed for products are not infinite. There is growing pressure on the availability of resources due to a variety of factors including the expected increase in global consumption of goods spurred by a growing global middle class.

The report aims to introduce the various business risks of common ‘linear economy’ business practices and start a dialogue with the financial and business community about their implications. Building on this report, there is an objective to explore further directions to better understand and model them. Hopefuly, these risks will one day become an integral part of investment decisions to ensure better investment decisions that achieve long-term stability and growth.

CEN Guidelines for integrated circular economy strategies at local and regional level

CEN Guidelines for integrated circular economy strategies at local and regional level

CEN Guidelines for integrated circular economy strategies at local and regional level

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Author: 
ACR+ (Jean-Pierre Hannequart, Philippe Micheaux Naudet)
Publication Date: 
05/2015
Country: 
EU

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Contact: 
Philippe Micheaux Naudet (ACR+)

The present guidelines have been developed by ACR+ in the framework of its Circular Europe Network initiative (CEN: www.circular-europe-network.eu).

It aims at explaining the potential role of local and regional authorities, and at developing guidelines to help them draw up integrated and efficient circular economy plans. Even though acknowledging the broader concept, these guidelines focus mainly on materials, considering that it is difficult for local and regional authorities to encompass all topics at once and since material resources represent the core element of circular economy.

The guidelines clarify the circular economy concept from a local or regional authority's perspective (Part 1) and propose key steps and elements to include in a local or regional circular economy strategy (Part 2).

The present document should serve as a set of first guidelines in the subject, particularly for the members of the Circular Europe Network, and is intended to be completed with examples of best practices to set such strategies, as well as concrete cases of circular economy.

The document is also available in Catalan, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish. For more information, please click here.

Renewable Materials for a Low-Carbon and Circular Future

Renewable Materials for a Low-Carbon and Circular Future

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Author: 
Essity, IKEA, Royal DSM and Tetra Pak
Publication Date: 
04/2018
Country: 
EU

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Contact: 
Stella Chavin
CE100

Achieving the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Agreement climate targets will hinge upon the global transition to a low-carbon circular economy. Replacing finite and fossil-based materials with responsibly managed renewable materials could decrease carbon emissions whilst reducing dependency on finite resources.

However, the role that renewable materials can play in the circular economy is often under-rated, and, so far, most of the conversation has focussed on biodegradability, instead of the role they could play in reuse, remanufacturing, and recycling streams. The aim of the Collaborative Project was to start a conversation on the role of renewables in the circular economy, and in order to do this, set out the opportunities and challenges that companies face when using/shifting to renewable materials today and propose a shared vision for the future.

Public Procurement for a Circular Economy

Public Procurement for a Circular Economy

Circular Procurement brochure

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Author: 
ICLEI
Publication Date: 
10/2017
Country: 
EU

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Contact: 
Ashleigh McLennan

In order to support public purchasers to leverage support for a transition to a circular economy, in October 2017 the European Commission published 'Public Procurement for a Circular Economy'. This brochure contains a range of good practice case studies as well as guidance on integrating circular economy principles into procurement.

Money Makes The World Go Round

Money Makes The World Go Round

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Author: 
Frido Kraanen
Publication Date: 
03/2016
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EU

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Contact: 
CE100

This report is the result of a collaborative project which was carried out by members of the Circular Economy 100, a program curated by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. The participants aimed to: (1) understand the implications of a circular economy on the business and financing models of companies; (2) determine how a transition to a circular economy can be supported and accelerated by the financial system; and (3) co-develop and share communication strategies and tools to make the transition clear and tangible to our colleagues, clients, and academics.

Circular Business Models for the Built Environment

Circular Business Models for the Built Environment

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Author: 
Guglielmo Carra, Arup, Nitesh Magdani, BAM
Publication Date: 
03/2017
Country: 
EU

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To support the transition to the circular economy, governance, regulations and business models will play a crucial role. More importantly, circular business models (CBMs) would allow the retention of an asset at its highest value over time and support enhancement of natural capital. Different CBMs will be required at different stages of a lifecycle of an asset and may work independently or collaboratively. Successful implementation of these business models will require action from designers, suppliers, service providers, contractors and end-of-life companies by sharing materials, systems, energy, as well as information and services.

Keeping Customer Connections

Keeping Customer Connections

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Author: 
Anna Vinogradova, Walmart, David Rakowski, PA Consulting
Publication Date: 
03/2018
Country: 
United Kingdom

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Contact: 
Stella Chavin

The circular economy offers a new way of looking at the relationships between markets, customers and our use of resources. It uses innovative new business models and designs, disruptive technologies and reverse logistics to transform the current ‘take, make, dispose’ economic model. Circular initiatives work to three principles of designing out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use and regenerating natural systems. 

Highlighting that many retailers are already tapping into circular economy thinking, this report is the output of a Collaborative Project carried out by Arizona State University, Cranfield University, eBay, Kingfisher, PA Consulting, Philips, Stuffstr and Wrap to identify new ways of working to generate value, discover new business opportunities and reduce resource costs - strategies which fundamentally change the relationship these retailers have with customers.

Delivering the circular economy: a toolkit for policymakers

Delivering the circular economy: a toolkit for policymakers

Delivering the circular economy: a toolkit for policymakers

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Author: 
Ellen MacArthur Foundation
Publication Date: 
06/2015
Country: 
United Kingdom

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Contact: 
Maja Johannessen

The circular economy offers business leaders and government a clear opportunity for long-term growth that is less dependent on cheap materials and energy, and which can restore and regenerate natural capital. This report provides an actionable toolkit for policymakers who wish to embark on a circular economy transformation. It identifies eight key insights, details policy options, opportunities and barriers, and demonstrates how the tools may be applied in a pilot study of Denmark. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation developed the circular economy toolkit with key collaborators the Danish Business Authority and Danish Environmental Protection Agency, analytical support by the McKinsey Center for Business and Environment, macroeconomic and policy analysis by NERA Economic Consulting, and funding from MAVA Foundation.

From waste to resource productivity: evidence and case studies

From waste to resource productivity: evidence and case studies

From waste to resource productivity: evidence and case studies

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Author: 
Government Chief Scientific Adviser
Publication Date: 
12/2017
Country: 
United Kingdom

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Dr Richard Leese

All societies produce waste, though its characteristics and what happens to it depend on cultural, economic and political factors at local, national and global scales. New business models, technological innovations and social enterprise have the potential to reduce waste. Policymakers have a key role to play in supporting these efforts by fostering better communication between stakeholders; through regulation that prioritises reuse and quality recycling; and by encouraging resource efficiency through education, research and manufacturing initiatives.

From waste to resource productivity: main report

From waste to resource productivity - main report

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Author: 
Government Chief Scientific Adviser
Publication Date: 
12/2017
Country: 
United Kingdom

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Dr Richard Leese

Waste nationally and globally is increasingly problematic and challenging to policymakers. It is a problem that is increasing in scale and scope. It matters to all of us for a series of reasons:

  • There is simply so much waste. In a country with a small land area and a large population, the sheer bulk of waste is in and of itself a problem;
  • As humans congregate in cities around the world, the production of waste has become highly concentrated and that creates particular challenges for its collection and disposal:
  • Much waste is harmful. The scale of that harm has become global. It harms both humans and the other species with which we share the planet. That harm comes in many forms.

How the Circular Economy can benefit from the Digital Revolution

How the circular economy can benefit from the digital revolution

How the Circular Economy can benefit from the Digital Revolution

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Author: 
Romain Pardo
Publication Date: 
04/2018
Country: 
Belgium

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Contact: 
Rebecca Castermans

In a circular economy, materials are more durable and easier to repair, reuse and recycle while waste is turned into a resource. In addition, processes from production to waste management become more resource efficient. Innovative business models enable companies to create value by selling services rather than products. Digital technologies will be pivotal in bringing about this systemic change. The European Union has to make the most of digital solutions for the benefit of a circular economy. This requires addressing the barriers to their uptake, enabling the free flow of data across borders, fostering trust in the data economy, and maximising synergies between the digital and circular economy agendas.

Circularity Gap Report

Circularity Gap Report

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Author: 
Marc de Wit , Jelmer Hoogzaad, Shyaam Ramkumar, Harald Friedl , Annerieke Douma
Publication Date: 
01/2018
Country: 
Netherlands

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Contact: 
Melanie Wijnands

Our world economy is only 9.1% circular, leaving a massive ‘"circularity gap". This alarming statistic is the main output of this first Circularity Gap Report, in which we launch a metric for the circular state of the planet. The Circularity Gap Report provides a framework and fact-based to measure and monitor progress in bridging the gap, year on year. Being able to track and target performance via the Global Circularity Metric will help us engage in uniform goal-setting and guide future action in the most impactful way. Closing the circularity gap serves the higher objective of preventing further and accelerated environmental degradation and social inequality. The transition to circularity is, therefore, a means to an end. As a multi stakeholder model, a circular economy has the ability to unite a global community behind an action agenda, engaged and empowered both collectively and individually. Its systemic approach boosts capacity and capability to serve societal needs, by embracing and endorsing the best humankind has to offer: the power of entrepreneurship, innovation and collaboration.

The Role of Business in the Circular Economy: Markets, Processes and Enabling Policies

The role of business in the circular economy: Markets, processes and enabling policies

The circular economy is attracting significant interest worldwide, as evidenced by the numerous government strategies, business commitments and partnerships devoted to its development. At the EU level, the Action Plan for the Circular Economy and several other policy documents have demonstrated a strong commitment to move towards a low-carbon and circular economy. While the calls for a new economic model grow louder, it is clear that the transformation of markets and industries on a large scale will not be an easy achievement. It will require well-designed and ambitious policies to foster the transition as well as new business models. Against this background, CEPS brought together executives from major multinational companies as well as representatives of business associations, non-governmental organisations and research institutes to form a Task Force charged with tackling the immense challenges associated with the circular economy. This report is the outcome of their deliberations. It analyses the key obstacles that need to be addressed, explores numerous policy areas at the EU and national level where support can act as a catalyst for market transformation, and puts forward actionable policy recommendations.

The Circular Economy: A review of definitions, processes and impacts

The Circular Economy: A review of definitions, processes and impacts

The Circular Economy: A review of definitions, processes and impacts

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Author: 
CEPS Task Force
Publication Date: 
04/2017
Country: 
Belgium

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Contact: 
Isabelle Tenaerts

Transforming the linear economy, which has remained the dominant model since the onset of the Industrial Revolution, into a circular one is by no means an easy task. Such a radical change entails a major transformation of our current production and consumption patterns, which in turn will have a significant impact on the economy, the environment and society. Understanding these impacts is crucial for researchers as well as for policy-makers engaged in designing future policies in the field. This requires developing an in-depth knowledge of the concept of the circular economy, its processes and their expected effects on sectors and value chains.

This paper reviews the growing literature on the circular economy with the aim of improving our understanding of the concept as well as its various dimensions and expected impacts. On the basis of this review, it attempts to map the processes involved and their application in different sectors.

The paper suggests that research on the circular economy is currently fragmented across various disciplines and there are often different perspectives and interpretations of the concept and the related aspects that need to be assessed. This fragmentation is also evident in the available studies that adopt different approaches in calculating the impacts, which makes efforts at comparing the results from different sources very challenging.

Finally, this paper suggests that there is limited information on the indirect effects on the economy (e.g. impacts on the value chain or changes in consumption spending patterns) as well as the social impacts of the circular economy transition.

Packaging & Circular Economy

Packaging & Circular Economy

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Author: 
CNE - Conseil national de l'emballage
Publication Date: 
09/2015
Country: 
France

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Contact: 
Bruno Siri

As is the case with Mr. Jourdain, who was unaware of what he was writing, industries involved in packaging have already implemented the circular economy model. Results in material recycling are relevant proof thereof. Industries are not getting involved in this process out for ideological reasons but because it often makes sense from an economical point of view. Since we were lucky enough not to be starting from scratch, we offered a tangible approach through illustration for each main material and/or packaging category from: glass to paper, cardboard, food cartons, steel, aluminum, wood, and plastic materials. This also includes the energy consumed by the different materials and the waste produced by all the different activities involved. By digesting some of the best existing or developing practices, we wish to make the circular economy model a fully-fledged part of the packaging sector.

A Future-Proof Built Environment

A Future-Proof Built Environment

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Author: 
Ben Kubbinga, Aglaia Fischer, Elisa Achterberg, Shyaam Ramkumar, Marc de Wit (Circle Economy), Petran van Heel, Bram van Amerongen, Madeline Buijs, Hein Brekelmans (ABN AMRO)
Publication Date: 
12/2017
Country: 
Netherlands

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Contact: 
Petran van Heel

The report highlights real-life and practical examples on how to rethink the way we create the built environment, one that currently uses 40% of all extracted minerals worldwide. It offers a systematic view of the sector and identifies clear levers for circular change. With learning by doing in mind, Circle Economy and ABN AMRO share the insights gained during the build of the first fully circular building in Amsterdam’s financial district: ABN AMRO’s Cirl pavilion. With this report, Circle Economy wants to highlight the possibilities in the built environment sector – with all positive economic, social and environmental consequences that a circular building and planning process entails. This report follows the launch of Circle Economy’s Circle Built Environment Programme, a new programme that builds on the expertise the organisation has gained over the last four years in identifying and implementing circular strategies across industries.

Cement, concrete & the circular economy

Cement, concrete & the circular economy

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Author: 
CEMBUREAU
Publication Date: 
09/2016
Country: 
EU

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Contact: 
Nikos Nikolakakos

The following publication provides an overview of why the cement and concrete industry is central to the circular economy and what can be done to leverage the opportunities.

Achieving 'Growth Within'

Achieving growth within

Type:

Author: 
SYSTEMIQ, Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Stiftungsfonds für Umweltökonomie und Nachhaltigkeit (SUN)
Publication Date: 
01/2017
Country: 
EU

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Contact: 
Ellen MacArthur Foundation

The report identifies ten attractive circular innovation and investment priorities for Europe until 2025, totalling €320 billion. Despite the favourable financial context,   investment in circular economy opportunities is still generally too low. The Foundation's previous research Growth Within outlined a long-term circular economy vision for Europe; this new report identifies the most important investment opportunities along with the policy reforms and business actions needed to unlock them. The report focuses on the mobility, food and built environment value chains, which together represent 60% of consumer expenditure and 80% of resource use.

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