Eco-vouchers (Ecocheques) are an incentive for Belgian households to purchase eco-friendly goods and services, including second-hand and refurbished ones.
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The BlueCity business park is one of Rotterdam's unique landmarks: formerly a water park resort, the complex is now a circular incubator housing over 30 startups experimenting towards a sustainable future.
From shoemaker to wind energy park engineer: 7.5% of all jobs in Belgium are circular. This report presents a baseline measurement of employment in the Belgian circular economy and provides insights into the nature and number of jobs in the country’s circular economy. This includes all jobs contributing to the circular economy through activities in renewable energy, repair and maintenance, recycling, digital technology, design, new business models and collaboration.
Monitoring the employment effects of the circular economy will discern what specific employment opportunities the circular economy has to offer, how these are distributed across society and how we can equip the workforce with the right skills to meet changing demand.
This report, conducted by the King Baudouin Foundation and the Dutch social enterprise Circle Economy, aims to inform governments, employers, social partners and other representatives with a view to pursuing effective and inclusive circular labour policy.
An online monitor, which the partners will update regularly, complements the report.
Vlaanderen Circulair (Circular Flanders) is the hub and inspiration for the Flemish circular economy. It is a partnership of policymakers, companies, civil society, and the knowledge community taking action together. Its six core activities are:
- Networking partners to tackle circular economy challenges
- Creating knowledge with the Circular Economy Policy Research Centre to streamline policy-related research into policy measures for the circular economy in Flanders
- Speeding up innovation and entrepreneurship
- Assisting pioneers
- Connecting local, Flemish, federal and European policymaking
- Embedding circular principles across Flemish civil society
Key to the Circular Flanders approach are several pillars with a great deal of potential, which bridge and bring together different sectors. Currently, these are circular purchasing, circular cities, and running circular businesses.
Through the Brussels Regional Programme for a Circular Economy, the government of the Brussels-Capital Region has defined a framework to encourage the transformation of a linear economy (extract – produce – consume – dispose) into a circular economy (recover – produce – consume – reuse) within Brussels.
The be circular portal is the entry point to the BRPCE, and networks the regional government with businesses and civil society delivering change on the ground, while also providing information to entrepreneurs about the various direct and indirect support programmes available.
Its projects include the Annual General Meeting linking more than 300 Brussels and European participants, and yearly Prizes for Circular Entrepreneurship. In 2017, be circular supported 222 entrepreneurs and financed 139 projects. A year later, the programme had reached nearly 1,300 businesses.
be circular also collects good practices from the Brussels region, with a particular focus on its four priority sectors: construction, logistics, retail and waste management.
To prevent consumers from buying items they use only a few times a year, Usitoo enables customers to rent these instead. The cooperative has a catalogue of hundreds of items that its customers can rent with credit, thus making the possession span of these items much longer.
The textile industry is the second most polluting industry in the world. The Next Closet’s mission is change this and inspire people to invest in quality and reuse what they already have, so second hand can become the number one choice.
Versnellingshuis Nederland Circulair! (Netherlands Circular Accelerator) is a business support network created by VNO-NCW / MKB Nederland, their regional affiliates and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water. Despite much interest in the circular transition, creating a successful enterprise that effectively keeps resources and products in use longer is not that straightforward due to a lack of knowledge and too little collaboration with stakeholders.
The Versnellinshuis helps overcome these challenges by:
- improving the preconditions for circular entrepreneurship through dissemination of financing opportunities, promotion of market incentives and discussion on regulatory barriers at regional, national and European levels
- matchmaking entrepreneurs across regions and value chains to stimulate sustainable solutions.
In addition to hosting a website for circular innovators to connect directly, the Versnellingshuis launches 5 groundbreaking projects and fosters 3 regional collaborations yearly and contributes to a circular transition with the following programmes as well:
- Holland Circular Hotspot: network for international promotion of Dutch CE activities
- VANG: knowledge and best practice exchange for local authority waste managers
- Plastic Pact NL: bringing 75 value chain players together to stimulate less plastic and more recycling.
For a brief overview, view the video below:
Wolkat is an international group of seven innovative textile recycling companies. It was founded as a family business in 1948.
Today Wolkat is offering a complete circular solution for textiles. Collected textile is transformed in-house to new products for fashion, car or furniture industry. Sorting, recycling, spinning and weaving is all done in-house. All collected textile is transformed into a final product with hardly any water or any dye, leaving only 4-5 % waste from all textiles. The rest is new raw material.
The Brussels Regional Programme for a Circular Economy is Belgium's capital region strategic effort towards a circular economy. Within this programme, the Brussels construction industry with its 12,000 businesses is a priority sector. As construction and facilities management accounts for 98% of water use, 75% energy demand and 33% of waste in Brussels, there is great potential for a substantial contribution to a circular transition.
This roadmap, developed in partnership with the Environmental Agency through 3 stakeholder workshops, includes three gradual steps towards circular building in Brussels:
- voluntary measures by construction businesses by 2025
- comprehensive regulation for circular public buildings by 2030
- reforming all relevant local planning regulations to include circular principles by 2040
While the latter goal remains to be clearly defined and prepared, the voluntary measures by companies and regulatory update for public buildings have already been transformed into actionable steps, e.g. revising training curricula in vocational and professional schools with a circular mindset or setting up monitoring systems to track the flow of resource and waste from Brussels' largest construction sites.
Super Circular Estate: joining material and social circularity to respond to citizens' new demographics and needs
The Super Circular Estate (SCE) project addresses the challenge of changing housing needs due to demographic evolution. The Parkstad Limburg region’s population, is estimated to shrink by 27% in the next 30 years, calling for a radical reorientation in housing facilities. The project aims at demolishing vacant outdated high-rise apartment buildigs (built in 1968), and reuse all of their components to establish new social housing units - co-designed with the residents.
Lena is the first fashion library of the Netherlands, where you can borrow clothing with a subscription, or buy through the try-before-you-buy principle. An endless wardrobe with the benefits of a fast changing wardrobe, placed in a sustainable context.
Cirkelstad is a national platform connecting private entrepreneurs and policy-makers who are delivering the transition to a circular economy in pioneering Dutch cities. By facilitating their networking, the platform enables greater impact by spreading best practice.
In addition to a comprehensive database of good practice, research and policy guidelines to inspire practicioners, the Cirkelstad Academie also provides occassional trainings and provides advisory services to aspiring circular projects in Utrecht and Amsterdam.
To learn more about this hands-on network and connect with the 'spinners' coordinating activities in each city, visit the platform here.
In this policy note, the City of the Hague outlines why a circular transition is necessary and what benefits it can provide to the city for its sustainable development. Continuing with a state-of-play, the note sketches out the policy framework at European, national and regional level to provide strategic context and introduce analysis of a non-exhaustive list of 143 ongoing circular projects in The Hague area. Links to further research show that making use of the opportunities a circular economy provides in the Construction, Procurement and Retail Trade sectors alone could substantially reduce carbon emissions and deliver 3,500 jobs in The Hague area.
Building on this research, the policy note indicates the city's priorities best lie in biomass, construction material and critical raw materials. To showcase possible next steps, the note provides a list of easily implementable projects and policies in these priority areas, while concluding with a stakeholder engagement strategy that should enable the city's administration to realise its goals for the priority sectors.
Ultra Thin White Topping is a road hardening innovation, applied to pilot projects in Frysland and Overijssel by Schagen Infra BV. To replace damaged asphalt sustainably, the company renovated the degenerated road surface using a thin layer of cement with polyseter fibers mixed in, thus reducing resource consumption and enabling full material recovery at end-of-life stage.
MaterialDistrict is a unique platform for innovative materials which empowers global innovation by match-making material needs with material solutions in the name of circularity. R&D and design professionals of all industrial sectors use this platform to discover new material solutions daily via MaterialDistrict's independent collection of materials, annually at MaterialDistrict Rotterdam and periodically throughout the year with travelling MaterialDistrict Expo, MaterialDistrict Talks and MaterialDistrict Pop-Up events.
By experimenting with recycled water bottles as material for internal components, Océ discovered the drivers and barriers to using recycled plastic in manufacturing
In designing the varioPrint 135, Océ partnered with the Netherlands Enterprise Agency and Philips to experiment with the use of recycled plastic in the production of industrial printers. Building on Océ's adoption of longevity and reuse principles in design, the company has made a further step towards circular economy and succeeded in developing an internal component that contains at least 30% post-consumer recycled polycarbonate from used 5 gallon water bottles.
The Pura Production Group is clearly commited to sustainable production and follows up on this commitment by achieving the maximum attainable sustainability factor with its cleaning products. Pura's flagship Blue Right line for hotels and offices is a circular economy front runner: the floor, interior, sanitary and kitchen cleaners are produced without hazardous chemicals, sold in portion-controlled compostable packaging and lead to zero waste after use.
When 68 Dutch architectural firms signed a manifesto for circular construction in 2018, it became apparent that this field is committed and eager to apply circular economy principles in designing and building for sustainable development. Nonetheless there are few available resources on commencing such a process, which is why the BNA (Dutch Association of Architects) commissioned a study on 'Designing Circularity Jointly: Circular Architecture and Construction' in 2018.
The transition to a circular economy is a quest where nobody has the correct and precise information on what inputs are required to reduce carbon emissions, ensure raw materials are processed in a circular loop and the built environment is repurposed at end of life. Designing truly circular buildings requires frameworks and insights. These are summarised in the report's eight key messages:
- circular economy is a shared quest full of complexity, obstacles and uncertainty, which is why openness, trust and courage are crucial;
- architects need more circular assignments to be able to benchmark and share experiences with each other;
- architects should play a greater role in designing buildings that can actually be built, maintained and recycled;
- collaboration across the entire value chain is necessary to map out resource flows and design in a truly circular fashion;
- regulation stimulates either renovation or newbuilds, becoming an obstacle when architects attempt to fuse old structures with new materials, linear raw materials with circular processes, and outdated standards with pioneering ones;
- despite a lot of information being available, architects find it difficult to access sustainable materials that have passed the necessary quality checks;
- the lack of clear guidelines about what is circular in the construction sector limits the adoption of corresponding principles;
- there are no easily accessible and understandable tools to guide practitioners in designing a circular structure.
Van Hulley is a Dutch SME that upcycles worn-out shirts into boxershorts, employing disadvantaged women as seamstresses every year and training them to join the labour market more permanently.
This short term assignment for Circular Flanders aims to provide an inventory of indicators that are relevant to monitor the transition to a circular economy and to measure the effects of new policy and trends. The inventory of indicators is based on scoreboards and monitoring frameworks developed by the EU and reports by JRC and EEA. This list is supplemented with indicators known by the authors and a literature search, representing a first step towards the development of a circular economy index.
The scope of indicators varies largely, e.g. material flow indicators can focus on global figures, but also on a specific substance content in a component. In this study we distinguish between macro, meso and micro level indicators. An extensive list of indicators discussed in literature and related to the circular economy is developed, of which a selection is discussed more in detail in fact sheets. The fact sheets report different aspects of the indicator: definition and scope, data availability, level of detail, future developments, links to circular economy and the availability of a benchmark (policy targets, …). Indicators related to the circular economy can be classified according to different criteria.
To have a visual overview of some important characteristics of the indicators assessed in this study, they are classified on 3 axes that represent different criteria:
- Micro, meso, macro level
- CE strategies
- Technology versus socio institutional
The study shows that lack of data (from macro to micro) and time and effort constraints (from micro to macro) are key barriers to link indicators on a macro/meso level on the one hand with indicators on a micro level on the other hand. Another observation is that existing indicators focus primarily on physical parameters, like kilograms, that are more technology-related. Indicators focusing on socio-institutional aspects are less well-defined and less frequently included in monitoring frameworks. The same applies for high-level circularity strategies. Very few indicators capture the effect of strategies that relate to smarter product use & manufacture and extending the life span of products. A transition to a circular economy may not be looked at from a material perspective only, but should include also other environmental impacts such as climate change. Indicators monitoring environmental impacts exist already and can easily be combined and integrated in a set of indicators for monitoring the circular economy.
With respect to future monitoring of developments of circularity indicators, several initiatives are ongoing on a European level to define a set of indicators that are useful for monitoring the circular economy, based on existing indicators. In parallel, researchers are working on the definition and methodology development of additional indicators that focus on aspects particular to the circular economy that are not yet captured by existing indicators, like reuse and remanufacturing strategies.
The Dutch Government has outlined its plans for the transition to a circular economy in the government-wide circular economy policy programme, entitled ‘A circular economy in the Netherlands by 2050’. A monitoring system is required to determine whether this transition is progressing as planned, a proposal for which is made in this report. This monitoring system will document ‘what we want to know, and what we can already measure’ (the latter being the baseline assessment).
In the monitoring system, a distinction is made between the desired effects and the transition process that needs to take place to bring about these effects. The most important desired effect of the transition to a circular economy is a reduced consumption of natural resources. This will result in fewer environmental effects (e.g. due to greenhouse gas emissions) and reduce our dependence on natural resource imports, and therefore increase resources supply security. Reducing natural resource consumption requires circularity strategies, for example by extending the lifetime of products and product components, such as for smartphones, or through encouraging the sharing of certain products, such as cars. This will call for efforts to ensure that such circularity strategies are adopted, for example by encouraging cooperation between product chain partners, removing regulatory barriers and designing circular products. This is a complex and, initially, slow process. Furthermore, it will take a while before the effects can be seen. Monitoring of both the transition process and its effects, therefore, is relevant.
In this report, we propose indicators for monitoring both the transition process and the effects achieved. We are already able to monitor the effects to some extent, in particular the effects of natural resource consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and waste and waste treatment. These effects are being monitored for the Netherlands as a whole and for the five priority themes of the government-wide programme: biomass and food, plastics, manufacturing, construction, and consumer goods. Transition teams have been appointed for each priority theme and have each drawn up a transition agenda (published at the same time as this report).
Not all the indicators proposed in the monitoring system can currently be measured; this applies in particular to those relating to the transition process. The monitoring system described in this report should therefore be regarded as a growth model. The aim is to develop the monitoring system further in the coming years, together with other knowledge institutes and partners involved in the five transition agendas.
The workbook 'Organising for the Circular Economy - A Workbook for Developing Circular Business Models' supports companies and other organisations that aim to become circular by providing a unique model that highlights the various building blocks of circular business models.
A concrete step-by-step approach allows organisations to work on the development of their own circular business model. To clarify and inspire, a set of infographics displaying the cycles of 30 front-runner organisations from the Netherlands, which already actively incorporate circularity in their business operations, is provided alongside the workbook.
The workbook and infographics can be downloaded free of charge from this website.
The municipality of Almere aspires to become a waste-free and energy-neutral city by 2022. The administration wants to bring the business community and knowledge institutes’ innovative power together to enable co-creation in the field of waste management and upcycling in the urban context.
Buyers have committed themselves to successfully completing two circular purchasing projects between June 2017 and June 2019. In practice they will choose 1 or more goals that will guide them towards circular products & services.
These goals are:
- Reduce total amount of materials
- Reduce non-renewable virgin input
- Extend the use/lifetime of products
-Optimize the potential Reuse of products&components
-Optimize the potential Recycling of products& materials