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No time to waste Unlocking the circular potential of the Baltic Sea Region

No time to waste: Unlocking the circular potential of the Baltic Sea Region

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Author: 
Polityka Insight
Publication Date: 
08/2019
Country: 
Poland

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The "No time to waste: unlocking the circular potential of the Baltic Sea Region" report, prepared by Politiyka Insight for the 10th annual forum of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (BSR) attempts to review the state of circular economy in that region, while assessing the challenges and opportunities connected with a circular transition. The report also looks into the future by trying to identify key trends that will impact the BSR countries until 2030, and on that basis project the future development of the circular economy, along with alternative scenarios.
 

The report shows that as of 2019 only Finland and Germany have adopted a circular economy strategy, while Poland, Estonia and Sweden are drafting one. On the other hand, there are circular economy projects active or planned in all countries neighbouring the Baltic sea, except for Lithuania and Latvia. According to its baseline scenario, "the transition to a circular economy will only happen partially. Cooperation between the BSR countries will remain on a roughly the same level, with EU policy as the main unifying factor. The most significant changes will be visible in the production sector".

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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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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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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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

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

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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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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

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Author: 
Valerio Burlizzi
Publication Date: 
01/2019
Country: 
EU

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Contact: 
Valerio Burlizzi

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.

Circular Economy Transition

circular economy transition

Circular Economy Transition aims to accelerate the transition of Switzerland to a Circular Economy. The programme operates in 5 Swiss cities: Basel, Bern, Geneva, Lausanne and Zurich.

In close collaboration with all Impact Hubs throughout Switzerland, sanu durabilitas and support of the MAVA foundation, this initiative will contribute to drive the new paradigm for the future of business, policy making and society through 4 main pillars:

  • project & startup incubator
  • community events
  • business lab for corporates & SMEs
  • research & policy recommendations

Policy Hub on Circular Economy in Apparel and Footwear

Circularity is a necessary solution to minimise the use of finite resources, but it requires a unified approach. The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), Global Fashion Agenda (GFA) and the Federation of the European Sporting Goods Industry (FESI) have launched a Policy Hub on Circular Economy to ensure collaboration among industry partners.

Together these organisations will kick-off the development of an impactful and effective policy framework. The C&A Foundation will fund the project throughout 2020. 

The Hub seeks to promote and demonstrate the value of a European policy framework that accelerates circular economy in the apparel, footwear, and textile industry. The Policy Hub will collaborate with a range of initiatives and stakeholders to support the industry in closing the loop of their business practices.

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 Conversations

Circular Conversations is a digital parlour created to host an open and critical exchange of ideas on what the next society and economy should look like and how to get there.

By initiating conversations with people of different perspectives, ideas and ideologies, disciplines and backgrounds, this decentralized and independent platform shares theories and practices able to shape the direction and design of the next economy.

To read more conversations like the interview with Rieta Aliredjo, 2019 circular economy stakeholder conference keynote speaker, on empowering kids to be circular starts, visit the blog here.

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.

Nutripeople uses Spain's fruit surplus to create superfood packets that alleviate malnutrition

nutripeople one product

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Spain

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Nutripeople, a Murcian start-up producing superfoods for the developing world, actively engages Spain's agri-food industry to sell its vegetable surplus as a resource to produce superfood pouches, which are then distributed in areas afflicted by famine.

M-LS by O.C.O Technology: a carbon-negative limestone aggregate created with residues from waste to energy residue

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United Kingdom

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The company O.C.O Technology Limited recycles a hazardous by-product of waste incineration in order to produce a carbon-negative material for the construction industry.

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.

HERA moves beyond waste management to prevention for medicines, foods and bulky goods

cambio il finale motto

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Italy

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With FarmacoAmico, CiboAmico and Cambia il Finale, the HERA has moved beyond its core business to actively prevent medicines, food and bulky goods from becoming waste.

Karun upcycles harmful waste into high quality sunglasses

Karun sunglasses and fishing nets

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Country: 
Italy, Sweden, Other (Chile)

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Karün is a Swedish-Chilean company producing sunglass frames entirely from discarded fishing nets and jeans, collected in Patagonia.

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.

Municipality-led circular economy case studies

Publication Cover

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Author: 
Charlotte Breen, C40 Cities, Peter Vangsbo, EIT Climate-KIC
Publication Date: 
12/2018
Country: 
EU

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Contact: 
Peter Vangsbo

This publication, managed and delivered by C40 Cities, provides 40 thorough examples of practical circular economic initiatives from cities around the world, for inspiration and replications by other cities.

The Climate-KIC Circular Cities project is investigating how city governments can be transformational change agents and creators of smart and sustainable neighbourhoods.

The results are expected to improve how cities manage building, construction and utility waste and, through productively utilizing household and industrial waste streams, can increase the growing perception that what was once viewed as waste can now be viewed as resource streams.

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.

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