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.
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In this section you will find knowledge such as studies, reports, presentations and position papers….. all submitted by stakeholders.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The paper aims to outline the new role financiers have to play to accelerate the transition towards a circular economy. How can they change their own operations to better align with those of circular entrepreneurs? How should they judge the risks and opportunities that are presented by circular business models? What new dangers and securities do these new business models bring? What role can they play in this new economy?
This guide will help financiers thrive in the circular economy through 6 practical guidelines:
- Assess Different Securities
- Emphasise Relationship-based Financing
- Value Natural Capital Gains
- Become a Knowledge Partner
- Have a Long-term Vision
- Become a Financial Chain Director
The system shift to the circular economy fundamentally changes the role of both the entrepreneur as well as the financier. In order to overcome this change, entrepreneurs and financiers need to find each other in this new economy.
Although the opportunities for investing in circular business models are widely available, current investment methods do not match the needs of these particular businesses. To finance these business models, both companies as well as the financial sector need to adapt. Businesses need to create an attractive business model for financiers, and financiers need to change the way they perceive the risks and opportunities associated with these models.
To help businesses position themselves in a circular context and develop future strategies for doing business in a circular economy, Sustainable Finance Lab, Circle Economy, Nuovalente, TUDelft, and het Groene Brein got together to create the Value Hill.
The Value Hill proposes a categorisation based on the lifecycle phases of a product: pre-, in- and post-use. This allows businesses to position themselves on the Value Hill and understand potential circular strategies they can implement as well as identify missing partners in their circular network. The Value Hill provides an overview of the circular partners and collaboration essential to the success of a circular value network.
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:
- Decide on a logical starting point
- Generate profit through multiple use cycles
- Align incentives throughout the supply chain
- Be transparent about the value proposition
- Redefine the role of retail
- Gradually transition to product-service systems by combining revenue models
- Secure stable cash flows through a robust contract
- Mitigate debtor risk
- Match asset value, payback period and contract duration
- Measure environmental impact on financial performance.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.