How robust is the circular economy in Europe? An ascendency analysis with Eurostat data between 2010 and 2018

Ascendency analysis is a systematic method grounded on information theory which has been developed by ecosystem ecologists for assessing the sustainability of natural ecosystems. Here, we apply ascendency analysis to quantify the robustness of material and energy flow networks of the EU27. In line with other authors, we argue that ecological principles can be useful for developing robust circular human-made systems. Robustness against shocks is endowed by including a diverse set of stakeholders who provide a) resource-use efficiency through a cache of specialized know-how in capturing and processing a plurality of resources, and b) resilience by generating multiple paths that allow these vital resources to circulate throughout the urban network at different scales and rates.