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Creating a Digital Roadmap for a Circular Economy

Creating a Digital Roadmap for a Circular Economy

EPC publication

The EU faces multiple challenges (climate crisis, environmental disasters, a lack of competitiveness, falling behind in the digital race, etc.) that it will need to address if it is to ensure long-term sustainable prosperity for European citizens. At the same time, there are two ongoing transitions – the creation of a circular economy and the digital transformation – that could provide the means to address these challenges, if they are managed well.

As the EU and national policymakers are making significant efforts to promote a circular economy on the one hand and a digital economy on the other, Annika Hedberg and Stefan Šipka, together with Johan Bjerkem, argue that it is time to align the agendas as a means to achieve greater sustainability and competitiveness.

This publication:

  • demonstrates what digitalisation means in the context of a circular economy;
  • considers what a greater focus on sustainability would mean for the digital transition;
  • examines the role of the EU policy framework, tools and initiatives in steering a (digital) transition towards a (digital) circular economy and makes recommendations for EU institutions for the next five year.

It suggests that the EU must:

  • think systemically, define a vision and act;
  • provide an adequate governance framework and economic incentives for a (digital) transition to a (digital) circular economy;
  • encourage collaboration across European society and economy as well as globally, and empower its citizens to contribute to the transition.

This Discussion Paper builds on the findings of the EPC’s "Digital Roadmap for a Circular Economy" project of 2017-19 and paves the way for a more extensive final study, scheduled to be published in the late autumn of 2019.

The project has been supported by Aalto University and the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) (members of Helsinki EU Office), Central Denmark region, Climate-KIC, the Estonian Ministry of the Environment, Estonian Environment Investment Centre, HP, Orgalim, the province of Limburg, UL, Fondazione Cariplo and Cariplo Factory.

Circular Construction in Practice

circular_construction_in_practice

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Author: 
Hubert Bukowski, Wioletta Fabrycka
Publication Date: 
06/2019
Country: 
Poland

Language for original content:

Contact: 
Hubert Bukowski

The report of the Institute of Innovation and Responsible Development, is the result of a collaboration between the representatives of the organizations participating in the "Circular construction in practice" debates under the Polish Circular Hotspot. It presents an analysis of the implementation of the circular model in the construction sector.

First, it identifies the causes of the current state of play, which have elevated the built environment to the top spot among the largest polluters of the natural environment.

Second, it analyses the basic barriers on the way to circular construction.

Third, it presents specific ways to reduce these barriers, with a view to making sustainable construction a reality.

Fourth, special attention is paid to specific, innovative technologies to improve resource efficiency and, as a result, improve the economic, environmental and social impact of the construction sector.

Austria Circularity Gap Report

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Author: 
Circle Economy, ARA
Publication Date: 
06/2019
Country: 
Austria

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On 19 June 2019, Altstoff Recycling Austria (ARA) and Circle Economy released the Circularity Gap Report Austria, the first measure of circularity for a nation state.

Experts and peer reviewers included CEC4Europe, the Austrian Federal Ministry of Sustainability and Tourism, the Federal Environment Agency, the Federation of Austrian Industries, the Austrian Chamber of Commerce, TU Vienna, the INZIN Institute and the City of Vienna. This landmark report paves the way for nations to lead the transition from a linear economy of Take-Make-Waste to a circular economy.
 
The analysis, commissioned by ARA, found a circularity rate for Austria of 9.7%, ahead of the figure of 9.1% in Circle Economy’s Global Circularity Gap report published in January 2019.

The Austria report will enable political and business leaders to identify and monitor the best interventions to boost the circularity rate, the proportion of materials that are recycled, re-used and re-manufactured in the Austrian economy.

This report is the first of its kind, where the circularity of a country is assessed combining different approaches. The relevance of the outcomes therefore goes beyond providing an action agenda for Austria alone.
 

The Danube goes Circular - Transnational Strategy to Accelerate Transition Towards a Circular Economy in the Danube Region

The Danube goes Circular - Transnational Strategy to Accelerate Transition Towards a Circular Economy in the Danube Region

Publication Date: 
05/2019
Country: 
Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Other (Ukraine, Moldova, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina)

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Contact: 
contact

One of the Interreg DTP MOVECO (Mobilizing Institutional Learning for Better Exploitation of Research and Innovation for the Circular Economy) project results is the Transnational Strategy to accelerate transition towards a circular economy in the Danube region.

Be transnational – reducing disparities within the Danube Region can only happen through cooperation, capacity building and knowledge exchange across borders. This holds also true for the implementation of the circular economy to make the Danube Region, as a resource poor region, less dependent on imported primary resources.

MOVECO identified key challenges with regard to the transition towards a circular economy and offers recommendations for progress. The strategy further provides the reader with many good practice examples and possibilities to raise awareness for circular economy.

Regular updates on the MOVECO project can be found on this page.

Waste Management in Europe. Good Jobs in the Circular Economy?

Waste Management in Europe. Good Jobs in the Circular Economy?

Good CE jobs

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Author: 
Vera Weghmann
Publication Date: 
01/2017
Country: 
EU

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Contact: 
Guillaume Durivaux

The report was commissioned by the European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU) to inform a workshop on "the future of the waste sector in Europe: challenges and opportunities for workers" held on 7th December 2017 in Brussels.

The report deals with the following questions:

  • What are the EU policies towards waste management?
  • What are the implications of the circular economy for the waste management sector?
  • What is the public/private provision in waste management in Europe?
  • Which multinational companies dominate the sector?
  • What are the current collective bargaining arrangements?
  • What are the opportunities and obstacles for organising waste management workers in Europe?

The report focuses on:

  • Improving the health and safety of workers
  • Ensuring quality jobs and decent pay and conditions
  • Fighting against social dumping
  • Improving the quality of jobs through up-skilling.

Circular Economy in Cities - Factsheets - Urban Products System Summary

Circular economy in cities - Products factsheets

Circular Economy In Cities_Factsheets_Products

These factsheets outline circular economy opportunities to design out urban waste and pollution, ensure products and materials maintain their value, and regenerate the natural systems in our cities.

Easy-to-reference, the factsheets are a collation of research and case examples that answer some of the most prevalent questions around what circular economy can bring to cities:

  • Why is change in cities needed?
  • What circular economy opportunities address key urban system issues?
  • What can urban policymakers do to harness circular economy opportunities?
  • What are the potential economic, social, and environmental benefits of these opportunities?

The whole collection of factsheets, by system and phase, is available on the Ellen Mac Arthur Foundation website.
 

Circular Economy in Cities - Factsheets - Urban Mobility System Summary

Circular economy in cities - Mobility factsheets

Circular Economy In Cities_Factsheets_Mobility

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Author: 
Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Arup
Publication Date: 
03/2019
Country: 
United Kingdom

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These factsheets outline circular economy opportunities to design out urban waste and pollution, ensure products and materials maintain their value, and regenerate the natural systems in our cities.

Easy-to-reference, the factsheets are a collation of research and case examples that answer some of the most prevalent questions around what circular economy can bring to cities:

  • Why is change in cities needed?
  • What circular economy opportunities address key urban system issues?
  • What can urban policymakers do to harness circular economy opportunities?
  • What are the potential economic, social, and environmental benefits of these opportunities?

The whole collection of factsheets, by system and phase, is available on the Ellen Mac Arthur Foundation website.
 

Circular Economy in Cities - Factsheets - Urban Building System Summary

Circular economy in cities - Buildings factsheets

Circular Economy In Cities_Factsheets_Buildings

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Author: 
Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Arup
Publication Date: 
03/2019
Country: 
United Kingdom

Language for original content:

Scope:

These factsheets outline circular economy opportunities to design out urban waste and pollution, ensure products and materials maintain their value, and regenerate the natural systems in our cities.

Easy-to-reference, the factsheets are a collation of research and case examples that answer some of the most prevalent questions around what circular economy can bring to cities:

  • Why is change in cities needed?
  • What circular economy opportunities address key urban system issues?
  • What can urban policymakers do to harness circular economy opportunities?
  • What are the potential economic, social, and environmental benefits of these opportunities?

The whole collection of factsheets, by system and phase, is available on the Ellen Mac Arthur Foundation website.
 

The European Machine Tool Industry and the Circular Economy

The European Machine Tool Sector and the Circular Economy

CECIMO Circular Economy Report

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Author: 
CECIMO - The European Association of the Machine Tool Industry and related Manufacturing Technologies
Publication Date: 
04/2019
Country: 
Belgium

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Contact: 
Maitane Olabarria

CECIMO has published a report underlining how the shift towards a circular economy calls for a prominent role of manufacturing. Within it, the machine tool sector plays a crucial role. Machine tools already have multiple lifetimes and embrace some key principles of the circular economy. But there is always room for improvement.

The sector can invest in advanced manufacturing technologies, but also build upon the existing good practices. This would lead to improved productivity and resource efficiency, and consumers enjoying products that last longer and use less energy.

The report also makes recommendations to the industry and policy makers.

Circular Fashion Advocacy - A Strategy towards a Circular Fashion Industry in Europe

Circular Economy Advocacy - A Strategy towards a Circular Fashion Industry in Europe

Circular Fashion Advocacy

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Author: 
Arthur ten Wolde, Polina Korneeva
Publication Date: 
03/2019
Country: 
Belgium

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Contact: 
Arthur ten Wolde

 

Waste and pollution from the production of textiles and clothing have become critical global issues. With only one percent of fibres being recycled, the current ‘linear’ model is outdated and unsustainable. There is an urgent need for a strategy to transform industry into a circular model.

A new report launched by Ecopreneur.eu, the European Sustainable Business Federation, calls for decisive policy measures to create an enabling framework. With a foreword from Janez Potočnik.

According to the report, a set of policy instruments to accelerate and mainstream a European circular fashion economy should be based on the following five pillars:

  • Innovation policies – research programmes with subsidies, investment tax deduction, and support for technological development, innovation and small and medium-sized enterprises.
  • Economic incentives – procurement, extended producer responsibility, VAT, and a tax shift to drive market demand for circular products and services.
  • Regulation – establishing and enforcing a common regulatory framework for transparency and traceability, circular design and improved end-of-waste status across the EU.
  • Trade policies – facilitating export of semi-finished products and sorted, reusable textile waste to producing countries, and avoiding negative social impacts in producing countries.
  • Voluntary actions – covenants, commitments and standards are encouraged to engage stakeholders, with legislation standing by in case of lacking results.

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