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Circular economy – From review of theories and practices to development of implementation tools

Author: 
Yuliya Kalmykova, Madumita Sadagopan, Leonardo Rossa
Publication Date: 
08/2018
Country: 
Sweden

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Scope:

The paper provides an overview of the literature on Circular Economy (CE) theoretical approaches, strategies and implementation cases. After analyzing different CE approaches and the underlying principles the paper then proceeds with the main goal of developing tools for CE implementation. Two tools are presented: a CE Strategies Database, which includes 45 CE strategies that are applicable to different parts of the value chain and secondly a CE Implementation Database, which includes over 100 case studies categorized by ScopeParts of the Value Chain that are involved, as well as by the used Strategy andImplementation Level. An analysis of the state of the art in CE implementation is also included in the paper.

One of the observations from the analysis is that while Parts of the Value Chain (recovery/recycling, consumption/use) are prominently featured, others, including manufacturing and distribution, are rarely involved in CE. On the other hand, the Implementation Levels of the used Strategies indicate that many market-ready solutions already exist. The Scope of current CE implementation considers selected products, materials and sectors, while systemic changes to the economy are rarely suggested. Finally, the CE monitoring methods and suggestions for future development are also discussed in this paper. The analysis of the theoretical approaches can serve as an introduction to CE concept, while the developed tools can be instrumental for designing new CE cases.

Unlocking circular business: A framework of barriers and drivers

Unlocking circular business: A framework of barriers and drivers

Author: 
Nina Tura, Jyri Hanski, Tuomas Ahola, Matias Stahle, Sini Piiparinen, Pasi Valkokari
Publication Date: 
03/2019
Country: 
Finland

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Scope:

Circular economy increasingly attracts the interest of business, policy makers and academia in the search for answers to sustainability challenges. While earlier studies have presented drivers that support the introduction of new business concepts for circular economy, as well as barriers that hinder the rate of innovation in the field, no systematic categorizations of such factors have been brought forward.

Drawing on current literature, a framework of drivers and barriers is introduced, including seven distinct areas: environmental, economic, social, political and institutional, technological and informational, supply chain, and organizational factors. The appearance and content of these areas in practice have been examined in four case organizations by conducting thirty-six qualitative, semi-structured interviews. Empirical illustrations of the potential barriers and drivers provide managerial implications for better execution of circular business.

The circular economy: reconciling economic growth with the environment

The circular economy: reconciling economic growth with the environment

montaigne circular economy policy paper
Author: 
Institut Montaigne
Publication Date: 
11/2016
Country: 
France

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Scope:

The transition to a more circular economy is underway. But what can be done to speed it up? This report, authored by Institut Montaigne, recommends five principles that must drive circular economy policy:

  • focus on innovation
  • adopt a comprehensive, global approach
  • take into account differences between sectors and enhance public / private cooperation
  • measure progress
  • reach out beyond developed countries.

A long-term strategy for a European circular economy – setting the course for success

A long-term strategy for a European circular economy – setting the course for success

think 2030 circular economy cover page

Type:

Author: 
Romain Pardo, Jean-Pierre Schweitzer
Publication Date: 
11/2018
Country: 
EU

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Scope:

The concept of circular economy is gaining traction. This has led to various policy actions throughout the life cycle of a product ranging from measures on eco-design to recycling targets. Despite the progressive incorporation of the circular economy in industrial and innovation policies, the EU and Member States policies have a strong focus on increasing recycling rates, reducing landfilling and creating markets for secondary raw materials. On their own these measures are insufficient to result in a paradigm shift in resource use and current targets inadequate to provide a clear direction of travel.

Within the framework of THINK 2030, an IEEP project to support a science-based agenda for European environmental policy beyond 2020, the authors set out what policy actions the EU and Member States can and should take in the coming decade to achieve a circular shift in Europe.

Barriers & Drivers towards a Circular Economy

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Author: 
Freek van Eijk
Publication Date: 
03/2016
Country: 
Netherlands

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Scope:

Contact: 
Freek van Eijk

The Barriers & Drivers to a Circular Economy report provides a review of pre-Circular Economy Action Plan studies on green growth, and showed that "a Circular Economy demands a system change with parallel actions along the value chain rather than a purely sector and/or product focused approach".

While many strategies by national and regional governments have been launched since the report's publication in 2015, its succinct overview of the issues impeding a circular transition remains useful for policy researchers. Many barriers, especially with consumer acceptance or price incentives of recylced materials, persist till today.

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

Type:

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.

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

Type:

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

Language for original content:

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.

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

Type:

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.

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