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The Circular Economy - Challenges, Opportunities and Pathways for European Businesses

The Circular Economy - Challenges, Opportunities and Pathways for European Businesses

The Challenges, Opportunities and Pathways for European Business in Circular Economy report is a EUROCHAMBRES initiative launched in order to better understand if and how the circular economy will benefit European businesses, and to delineate a successful transition. This will be the basis for a policy strategy to contribute to an enriching debate on future legislative proposals at European level.

This report is a comprehensive meta-analysis of the most up-to-date quantitative studies on the circular economy, and elaborates on nine industrial sectors (agriculture, construction, mobility, hospitality and food services, metal manufacturing, electronics, textile, food & drink manufacturing, and plastics) including case studies. Bearing in mind the future of European manufacturing industries and businesses, the paper focuses on European trends derived from available data regarding investment costs, cost savings, and investment opportunities.

Designing plastics circulation

Designing plastics circulation - electrical and electronic products

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Author: 
Nordic Council of Ministers
Publication Date: 
08/2019
Country: 
Denmark, Finland, Sweden

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Today, most electrical/electronic equipment (EEE) is not designed for recycling, let alone for circulation. Plastics in these products account for 20% of material use, and through better design, significant environmental and financial savings could be made. Technological solutions and circular design opportunities already exist, but they have not yet been implemented. Some challenges, such as ease of disassembly, could be resolved through better communication and by sharing learnings across the value chain. Instead of WEEE, we should focus on developing CEEE: Circular Electrical and Electronic Equipment. The case examples of this report show how different stages of the lifecycle can be designed so that circular plastic becomes possible and makes business sense. It is time to take a leap in material flow management and scale up these circular solutions across the industry.

Circular economy and voluntary standard: 6 companies share their experience

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Author: 
AFNOR
Publication Date: 
02/2019
Country: 
France

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To increase clarity in circular projects, France's standardisation body AFNOR developed a voluntary standard, XP X30-901, that proposes a common understanding, laying out the terms, principles, and practices for all actors to agree to work with on the subject.

XP X30-901 proposes a 3 x 7 matrix covering the three dimensions of sustainable development - environment, economy, society - and the seven areas of action of the circular economy: sustainable procurement, ecodesign, industrial symbiosis, functional economy, responsible consumption, extension of service life, and the effective management of materials and products at the end of their life cycle.

In this report, six members of the standardisation commission share their experiences on this voluntary standard.

Circular Economy Guidebook for Cities

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Author: 
Piyush Dhawan, Janpeter Beckmann
Publication Date: 
03/2019
Country: 
Germany

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Contact: 
Janpeter Beckmann

In recent months there has been circular economy-related activity in cities as diverse as Maribor in Slovenia, Peterborough in the UK and Abuja in Nigeria. There is as much traction on the topic of CE in major cities of China, India, South Africa, Rwanda as there is the Netherlands and the UK. Is there no silver bullet for a city to become circular? No two cities are the same, so it is important to understand what that city’s unique selling point is and exactly what it wants to make circular.

In this guidebook, the CSCP classifies cities into four broad categories: a legacy city or a pioneering city in a developed or an emerging economy. Based on this classification, a number of examples from cities across the continents this guidebook documents the journey towards becoming more circular, and provides suggestions for cities seeking to make the shift.

The role of municipal policy in the Circular Economy: Investment, Jobs and Social Capital

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Author: 
Circle Economy
Publication Date: 
06/2019
Country: 
EU

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Contact: 
Harald Friedl

Local government programmes that encourage and support circular economy practices, such as repair, recycling and circular design activities help attract new investment, create jobs and result in tangible socio-economic benefits for the city and its people, reveals the report: The Role of Municipal Policy in the Circular Economy: Investment, Jobs and Social Capital in Circular Cities.
 

The report explores the connection between municipalities pursuing circular economy policy and investments in circular business that create jobs. In order to maximise circularity's benefits for society, municipalities can employ a series of regulatory, economic and soft instruments that include strategies, targets, loans and subsidies, which are all also conducive to generating employment.

WBCSD Circular Transition Indicators

Circular Transition Indicators

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Author: 
World Business Council for Sustainable Development, KPMG
Publication Date: 
07/2019
Country: 
EU

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Contact: 
Brendan Edgerton

How do we know if we’re accelerating towards a circular economy if we don’t have a common methodology for measuring distance? This distance, our transition towards a circular economy, is critical in understanding where we are today and monitoring our future progress.
 

Since June 2018, the Factor10 Working Group of more than two dozen companies has drafted, commented, pilot tested, reviewed, redrafted and refined the enclosed methodology - Circular Transition Indicators: proposed metrics for buisiness, by business - which combines a methodological framework and user manual for circular action plans in business.
 

WBCSD will also offer four webinars throughout August 2019 to present the Circular Transition Indicators, which an opportunity to ask questions and discuss the framework with the WBCSD team. Registration for any one of the webinars can be done at the link here, while feedback can be given here. After the feedback period, the Working Group will consider and process all feedback towards the next stage in the project. The final methodology and implementation tool (in development) will be published in January 2020.

Circular Baltic 2030: circular economy in the Baltic sea region and beyond

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Author: 
Joel Ahlgren
Publication Date: 
06/2019
Country: 
Sweden

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Contact: 
Joel Ahlgren - Global Utmaning

Circular Baltic 2030 - Circular economy in the Baltic Sea Region (BSR) is a report produced by the Swedish independent think-tank Global Utmaning.

It is a collection of circular economy best practices supporting the implementation of the European Union Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region and covering the EU Member States of Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Sweden as well as the partner countries Norway and Russia. The report also showcases a number of circular economy best practices from around the world.

Outline of the circular economy: Netherland's stocktaking report

Activities, such as reusable water bottles, are part of a circular economy

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Author: 
Trudy Rood, Maikel Kishna
Publication Date: 
05/2019
Country: 
Netherlands

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Contact: 
Trudy Rood

In many countries, governments are looking for ways to transform their economy into one that is circular, or to improve the level of resource efficiency (e.g. see the EU programme ‘Closing the loop’ or the World Circular Economy Forum).

To do so effectively, having an overview of the current state of circular activities in the economy is important. To date, such an overview has been lacking. This PBL report provides an outline of the current state of the circular economy in the Netherlands. It also provides information that may be of interest to other countries and presents opportunities and suggestions for subsequent steps towards achieving a circular economy.

For Better Not Worse: Applying Ecodesign Principles to Plastics in the Circular Economy

For Better Not Worse: Applying Ecodesign Principles to Plastics in the Circular Economy

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Author: 
Chloé Fayole, Doreen Fedrigo, Ioana Popescu
Publication Date: 
06/2019
Country: 
Belgium

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Contact: 
Doreen Fedrigo

This report examines the actual implementation of existing measures and potentially relevant new approaches for deepening the application of ecodesign principles for plastic materials and products containing plastic.

It looks at a number of sectors which rely heavily on plastic, including packaging, construction, electronics, automotive, furniture and textiles. The study assesses a wide range of criteria and tools available in horizontal and product regulations, as well as so-called soft tools such as standards, Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) schemes and the EU Ecolabel.

The report also looks at the potential of these tools for driving circularity and opportunities for extending promising solutions to other sectors.

Statement from the Architects' Council of Europe - Designing Buildings for Circular Economy

Author: 
Architects' Council of Europe (ACE)
Publication Date: 
06/2019
Country: 
EU

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Contact: 
Pierre Obajtek

On the occasion of the World Circular Economy Forum (WCEF), held on 4-5 June 2019 in Helsinki, the Architects' Council of Europe (ACE) published a Statement highlighting the importance of design to achieve more circularity in the construction and building sector, as well the solutions that architecture can bring.

Like many other sectors, the construction and building sectors operate largely within a linear economy model of “take, make and waste”. Yet, there is growing awareness of the finite nature of natural resources and fragility of our environment, and thereby of the urgent need to develop more sustainable and regenerative economic models.

Architecture has a crucial role to play here as many decisions taken during the design phase have long-lasting consequences on the environmental performance of a building. Developing circular economy principles in the built environment is fundamentally about changing the way we design our buildings to ensure that they can be operated, maintained, repaired, re-used or adapted to new needs, while optimising resource value and generating as little waste as possible. If high-quality architecture can create significant value, conversely, ill-conceived buildings can cause considerable waste and costs, both in the short term as well as for future generations.

Designing and building in a circular manner requires acknowledging that a building is above all a support for life. Beyond optimising the use of resources for their own sake, it is essential to seek to preserve and enhance the economic, social, environmental and cultural value that a place embodies for end-users, so that it can be used for the longest possible time.

The Statement presents different architectural solutions promoting circularity, focusing on preserving and enhancing the value of resources. It also puts forward some policy recommendations to support the architectural approach to circularity.

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