Russia is among the larger suppliers of raw materials to the EU. It is the biggest world supplier for palladium, platinum and nickel, and a prominent one for aluminium and copper. The country still holds large untapped reserves of rare-earth elements.
This paper provides an overview of EU import dependency on raw materials and Russia’s share among EU sources of key supplies for low-carbon technologies. It then looks at prospects for meeting future material demands through circularity for three technologies, namely lithium-ion batteries, wind turbines and fuel cell electric vehicles.
The analysis is based on two scenarios with different levels of ambition. They aim to give an indication of the scale of potential benefits that can be achieved through circular approaches.
Many actors see the EU’s circular economy (CE) as a promising narrative which steps outside dominant end-of-pipe solutions towards an encompassing vision for strategies across the supply chain. However, this study finds that the EU CE Action Plan maintains the status quo narrative instead of suggesting radical changes.
By focusing on stakeholder narratives, this analysis shows that the inertia is primarily due to CE proponents’ self-perception of being in a legitimacy crisis and their strategic arguments that have:
concealed social conflict and potential trade-offs
strengthened the agency of ‘status quo’ agents
excluded alternative voices questioning the proposed CE narrative.
The paper discusses how to develop new environmental narratives outside the status quo.
France's Law Against Food Waste has become an international model for sustainable food policy. The law is often described as combining economic efficiency with environmental protection and social equity. However, stakeholder narratives cast doubt on whether this French CE law really contributes to social justice in the long run. This discourse analysis shows that:
the ban on food waste institutionalised a narrative about food waste that prioritises profit over social equity
the traditionally dominant solidarity narrative about food waste has been pushed back by the emerging CE discourse
As a consequence of this shift, activities enacted in the name of the CE may counteract social equity goals (for instance by establishing competition with charities).
Policies are focusing on halving food waste to help conserve increasingly strained food resources. However, expanding their scope of action to include dietary changes and complement targets with resource footprints has greater potential to save resources while avoiding trade-offs.
This paper shows that in Germany:
Healthy, plant-based diets are more effective at reducing land and biomass use than halving food waste
A combination of more plant-based food consumption and food waste reduction in distribution and consumption is most effective at saving resources
Focusing exclusively on food waste reduction as a policy target can be detrimental to the overarching goal of saving resources because it deflects attention away from more effective alternatives.
The circular economy (CE) is gaining momentum in cities. To ensure a sustainable CE, it is crucial to measure the environmental performance of CE strategies. However, environmental assessments overlook several strategies that are a key feature of urban CE practice. These include reuse and repair, sustainable built infrastructure and urban land use, green public procurement, smart information and access technology.
To provide insights into the environmental performance and potential of these strategies, industrial ecologists and municipalities should:
collaborate with urban systems experts
quantify the environmental impacts of entire urban systems
combine environmental assessments with social and economic feasibility ones.
Many political, business and civil society stakeholders are disappointed with the German Packaging Act. They feel it makes a comparatively small contribution to the circular economy. This study explains why they are disappointed:
Policy-making became entangled in disputes between proponents of a private and a public system for waste collection. Stakeholder fears of potential radical changes led to a stalemate
Fears allowed only incremental changes in the Packaging Act
The incremental changes could not resolve existing conflicts.
Based on its findings, the paper proposes possible courses of action. To create a shift to a circular economy, dialogue is needed using methods which explicitly address fears and overcome the current stalemate.
This book provides answers on how to govern the transition to a circular economy in different socio-cultural and political contexts.
It is intended to help the global changemakers who are building our circular future. Author Jacqueline Cramer spoke with 20 representatives of circular hotspots worldwide, thoroughly analysed their different contexts and extracted 10 key takeaways. Everyone working on circular initiatives can use these and adapt them to their own socio-cultural and political contexts.
In this book, Jacqueline Cramer shows how network governance can power the circular economy. Network governance is about building a coalition of partners, which all fulfill a specific function in the network and are aligned by so-called transition brokers. By complementing conventional, public governance with this new form of governance, the best of both worlds is created.
Prof. Cramer shares her huge experience of implementing numerous circular initiatives in the Netherlands. As a practitioner and scholar, she has identified ten guiding principles for building circular initiatives, based on network governance. These guidelines can support everyone who wants to start or expedite a circular initiative.
The circular economy is a model of production and consumption that is underpinned by a transition to renewable energy and materials. It is a resilient system - good for business, people and the environment. The book titled The Circular Economy and Green Jobs in the EU and Beyond examines what the circular economy means, why the transition from a linear economy to a circular one is important, and how we can achieve it.
The book offers clarification on the meaning and the implications of the circular economy across different contexts – economic, social, cultural, legal and international. Particular emphasis is placed on the implications for jobs and different business models as well as on questions of equity.