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Knowledge

In this section you will find knowledge such as studies, reports, presentations and position papers….. all submitted by stakeholders.

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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.

 

Two years later: the EU Circular Economy Package

IW Report
Author: 
Dr. Adriana Neligan
Publication Date: 
04/2018
Country: 
Germany

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Contact: 
Dr. Adriana Neligan

The EU Circular Economy Package pushes forward the concepts of ‘recycle, repair and re-use’, as well as waste avoidance. To comply with the Package many EU countries will need a completely new waste treatment system, and many companies will need to re-think some established business models.

Two years after adopting the Circular Economy Package, the EU institutions have finally agreed on a new EU waste regulation. The paper entitled Two years later: the EU Circular Economy Package evaluates recent EU policy moves and decisions. It also analyses the status quo of Germany's circular economy efforts and compares them to those of other EU member states. Finally, some of the risks and opportunities for companies are outlined.

This paper is an update of a previously published policy paper by Dr. Adriana Neligan (2016), which discussed the Package after it was presented in late 2016.

2025 recycling target: only 10 EU countries on track

Author: 
Dr. Adriana Neligan
Publication Date: 
04/2018
Country: 
Germany

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Contact: 
Dr. Adriana Neligan

Two years after adopting the Circular Economy Package, the EU institutions have finally agreed on new EU waste rules. Despite lower recycling targets as originally envisaged, most countries still have to push recycling to meet the goals. A single method of determining recycling rates was also decided, but an exemption will continue to allow for disparate recycling rates.

Recycling has become increasingly important in Europe: EU recycling rates increased from 32 to 46 per cent between 2005 and 2016. Yet, more progress is needed to reach the targets.

Retaining value in the Swedish materials system - summary of the report in English

Retaining value in the Swedish materials system

Retaining value in the swedish materials system

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Author: 
Material Economics
Publication Date: 
01/2018
Country: 
Sweden

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Contact: 
Per Klevnäs
Angelica Afzelius

The report Retaining value in the Swedish materials system takes a value perspective on the use and recycling of materials in a circular perspective. It analyses the use of materials in the Swedish economy in monetary terms instead of tonnes and cubic metres.

The key questions it seeks to answer include the following:

  • For each 100 SEK of raw material entering the Swedish economy, how much value is retained after one use cycle?
  • What are the main reasons that material value is lost?
  • What measures could retain more materials value, and how much could be recovered? Which business opportunities arise as a result?

This value perspective gives a much more realistic view of how circular the Swedish materials system really is, as it captures all the downgrading effects that occur through its use of materials, in addition to the volume effects that also traditional research approaches capture. The value perspective also turns materials recycling into an industrial innovation and an economic topic, in addition to an environmental topic. To our knowledge, this is the first time anyone has value-mapped a material system in this way. 

Read more about the results and download the full report (in Swedish) here.

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.

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