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The World Circular Economy Forum 2018 took place in Yokohama, Japan, from 22 to 24 October. ECESP was represented by Ladeja Godina Košir, coordination group member for Circular Change.
The XI International Environmental Congress took place in Bogotà, Colombia on 23 and 24 October 2018, with participation from Cillian Lohan, ECESP coordination group member for the EESC.
The Relooping Fashion Initiative (2015-2017) was aimed at piloting and modelling the circular business ecosystem for textiles. This report covers the business ecosystem modelling work and introduces the project team’s crystallized vision of a higher-level system that enables the textiles industry to operate according to the basic principles of a circular economy.
The focus of the report is on explaining the principles of a circular economy in the context of textiles, and drawing a picture of the key material flows and types of actors along the value cycles from end-user back to end-user. The overall goal is to maintain the value of materials as high as possible, with minimum environmental impact. The different circular business models for textiles are introduced along the value cycles. The report covers 1) repair and maintenance, 2) re-use as product, 3) re-use as material, and 4) recycling-related activities, and business models for post-consumer/user textiles along the entire value chain.
All these processes need to work seamlessly together for the circular business ecosystem to function effectively. New recycling technologies are crucial to solving the global textile waste problem, and to be able to replace some of the virgin materials such as cotton with recycled textile materials. The report also discusses the topic of shared value creation in the circular economy context.
Circular Economy and Employment first summarizes the main definitions and conceptualisations of a circular economy, then clarifies the relationship to related concepts such as green growth and eco-innovation. This report is the outcome of a project estimating the employment effects of a circular economy.
The Circular Economy mainly focuses on savings on the shares of material, labour, energy, and capital embedded in the product. In finite systems it is intended to “design out waste”. An important difference is made between consumables (one or few time usage) and durables (years of usage) products. Material savings can be achieved by already established recycling and remanufacturing activities finally aiming at a “zero waste economy”. More recently, the contribution of green ICT leading to less material inputs (“digital revolution”, e.g. photos are no longer printed but distributed by e-mail or social media), a general greater importance of services, the evolution of the sharing economy (e. g. car sharing) or a higher utilisation rate for products for the circular economy are discussed.
Detailed concepts of green growth from OECD, UNEP, EEA and the Global Green Growth Institute are also considered. Green growth means fostering economic growth and development while ensuring that natural assets continue to provide the resources and environmental services on which our well-being relies. Investment and (eco-) innovation activities shall give rise to new, more sustainable sources of growth and development. Moving towards a circular economy may be understood as a tool to achieve a green economy, a circular economy is one of the main elements helping to achieve the greening of an economy.
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.
Is the current circular economy paradigm enough? Will it get us to a fairer society and flourishing planet? Will it allow us to meet the UN's Sustainable Development Goals? Perhaps not. There could be a different way: by combining social enterprise and circular economy (= social circular economy), to deliver benefits to people, planet and profit.
The Social Circular Economy report provides insights from our engagement with 30+ organisations from around the world that are using the value creating approaches of the circular economy to deliver environmental, societal and economic benefits. From a recycling hub supporting a disability rehabilitation centre to corporate uniform repurposing with women's collectives, there are organisations innovating business models and processes to do business better and help meet UN Sustainable Development Goals. This report covers:
- What is the social circular economy?
- What are the themes across social circular enterprises?
- What are examples of these organisations?
- How can you or your organisation participate?
Food packaging in the circular economy: Overview of chemical safety aspects for commonly used materials
Food packaging in the circular economy: Overview of chemical safety aspects for commonly used materials
Food packaging facilitates storage, handling, transport, and preservation of food and is essential for preventing food waste. In the existing economic system, food packaging is generally designed for single-use and discarded after relatively short periods of time, a scheme that is no longer acceptable in the transition to a circular economy.
This paper offers a detailed analysis in food packaging materials with respect to properties, recycling, and contaminants. It also discusses different approaches such as weight reduction versus recyclability or deposit and reuse schemes for permanent material-based food packaging.
Society and businesses are becoming increasingly aware that the resources needed for products are not infinite. There is growing pressure on the availability of resources due to a variety of factors including the expected increase in global consumption of goods spurred by a growing global middle class.
The report aims to introduce the various business risks of common ‘linear economy’ business practices and start a dialogue with the financial and business community about their implications. Building on this report, there is an objective to explore further directions to better understand and model them. Hopefuly, these risks will one day become an integral part of investment decisions to ensure better investment decisions that achieve long-term stability and growth.
This paper reviews the existing literature on modelling the macroeconomic consequences of the transition to a circular economy. It provides insights into the current state of the art on modelling policies to improve resource efficiency and the transition to a circular economy by examining 24 modelling-based assessments of a circular economy transition. Four key conclusions emerge from this literature. First, most models find that a transition to a more circular economy – with an associated reduction in resource extraction and waste generation – could have an insignificant or even positive impact on aggregate macroeconomic outcomes. Second, all models highlight the potential re-allocation effects – both between sectors and regions – that the introduction of circular economy enabling policies could have. Third, certain types of macroeconomic model are more appropriate for assessing the transition than others, notably due to their accounting of interactions between sectors and macroeconomic feedbacks. Fourth, of the assumptions that are fed into these models – those concerning future rates of productivity growth, the substitutability between different material types, and future consumption patterns – are key determinants of model outcomes.
Achieving the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Agreement climate targets will hinge upon the global transition to a low-carbon circular economy. Replacing finite and fossil-based materials with responsibly managed renewable materials could decrease carbon emissions whilst reducing dependency on finite resources.
However, the role that renewable materials can play in the circular economy is often under-rated, and, so far, most of the conversation has focussed on biodegradability, instead of the role they could play in reuse, remanufacturing, and recycling streams. The aim of the Collaborative Project was to start a conversation on the role of renewables in the circular economy, and in order to do this, set out the opportunities and challenges that companies face when using/shifting to renewable materials today and propose a shared vision for the future.
This report is the result of a collaborative project which was carried out by members of the Circular Economy 100, a program curated by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. The participants aimed to: (1) understand the implications of a circular economy on the business and financing models of companies; (2) determine how a transition to a circular economy can be supported and accelerated by the financial system; and (3) co-develop and share communication strategies and tools to make the transition clear and tangible to our colleagues, clients, and academics.
To support the transition to the circular economy, governance, regulations and business models will play a crucial role. More importantly, circular business models (CBMs) would allow the retention of an asset at its highest value over time and support enhancement of natural capital. Different CBMs will be required at different stages of a lifecycle of an asset and may work independently or collaboratively. Successful implementation of these business models will require action from designers, suppliers, service providers, contractors and end-of-life companies by sharing materials, systems, energy, as well as information and services.
The circular economy offers a new way of looking at the relationships between markets, customers and our use of resources. It uses innovative new business models and designs, disruptive technologies and reverse logistics to transform the current ‘take, make, dispose’ economic model. Circular initiatives work to three principles of designing out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use and regenerating natural systems.
Highlighting that many retailers are already tapping into circular economy thinking, this report is the output of a Collaborative Project carried out by Arizona State University, Cranfield University, eBay, Kingfisher, PA Consulting, Philips, Stuffstr and Wrap to identify new ways of working to generate value, discover new business opportunities and reduce resource costs - strategies which fundamentally change the relationship these retailers have with customers.
All societies produce waste, though its characteristics and what happens to it depend on cultural, economic and political factors at local, national and global scales. New business models, technological innovations and social enterprise have the potential to reduce waste. Policymakers have a key role to play in supporting these efforts by fostering better communication between stakeholders; through regulation that prioritises reuse and quality recycling; and by encouraging resource efficiency through education, research and manufacturing initiatives.
Waste nationally and globally is increasingly problematic and challenging to policymakers. It is a problem that is increasing in scale and scope. It matters to all of us for a series of reasons:
- There is simply so much waste. In a country with a small land area and a large population, the sheer bulk of waste is in and of itself a problem;
- As humans congregate in cities around the world, the production of waste has become highly concentrated and that creates particular challenges for its collection and disposal:
- Much waste is harmful. The scale of that harm has become global. It harms both humans and the other species with which we share the planet. That harm comes in many forms.
Our world economy is only 9.1% circular, leaving a massive ‘"circularity gap". This alarming statistic is the main output of this first Circularity Gap Report, in which we launch a metric for the circular state of the planet. The Circularity Gap Report provides a framework and fact-based to measure and monitor progress in bridging the gap, year on year. Being able to track and target performance via the Global Circularity Metric will help us engage in uniform goal-setting and guide future action in the most impactful way. Closing the circularity gap serves the higher objective of preventing further and accelerated environmental degradation and social inequality. The transition to circularity is, therefore, a means to an end. As a multi stakeholder model, a circular economy has the ability to unite a global community behind an action agenda, engaged and empowered both collectively and individually. Its systemic approach boosts capacity and capability to serve societal needs, by embracing and endorsing the best humankind has to offer: the power of entrepreneurship, innovation and collaboration.
Transforming the linear economy, which has remained the dominant model since the onset of the Industrial Revolution, into a circular one is by no means an easy task. Such a radical change entails a major transformation of our current production and consumption patterns, which in turn will have a significant impact on the economy, the environment and society. Understanding these impacts is crucial for researchers as well as for policy-makers engaged in designing future policies in the field. This requires developing an in-depth knowledge of the concept of the circular economy, its processes and their expected effects on sectors and value chains.
This paper reviews the growing literature on the circular economy with the aim of improving our understanding of the concept as well as its various dimensions and expected impacts. On the basis of this review, it attempts to map the processes involved and their application in different sectors.
The paper suggests that research on the circular economy is currently fragmented across various disciplines and there are often different perspectives and interpretations of the concept and the related aspects that need to be assessed. This fragmentation is also evident in the available studies that adopt different approaches in calculating the impacts, which makes efforts at comparing the results from different sources very challenging.
Finally, this paper suggests that there is limited information on the indirect effects on the economy (e.g. impacts on the value chain or changes in consumption spending patterns) as well as the social impacts of the circular economy transition.
Brendan Edgerton is the Director of Circular Economy at the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) in Geneva, Switzerland. Since arriving at WBCSD in 2015, he has managed the delivery of the Practitioner Guide (www.CEguide.org) and the 8 Business Cases to the Circular Economy and contributed to the Environmental Priorities for Business in the Circular Economy and the CEO Guide to the Circular Economy.
Brendan also contributed to the development and launch of Factor10, WBCSD’s circular economy program. This program launched at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in January 2018 with over 30 members, spanning across 16 industries and claiming over USD $1.3 trillion in annual turnover. He now manages multiple workstreams under Factor10 on circular metrics and sector deep dives.
Prior to WBCSD, Brendan’s work experience includes life cycle assessment and costing at Walt Disney Imagineering, renewable and energy efficiency project identification at Office Depot and green building consulting with Green Dinosaur. Brendan has an MBA from the Yale School of Management, a Master of Environmental Management from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and a bachelor’s with honors from the University of California Santa Cruz.
SCP/RAC promotes an action in Morocco to support the country in transitioning from single-use plastic bags to other green means.
The EU-funded SwitchMed Programme supports and connects stakeholders to scale-up social and eco-innovations in the Mediterranean. It promotes inclusive growth, job creation and sustainable development by supporting policy makers, eco-innovative small and medium sized enterprises, industries, start-ups and entrepreneurs in the Southern Mediterranean countries.
EU-funded SwitchMed Programme supports and connects stakeholders to scale-up social and eco-innovations in the Mediterranean. It promotes inclusive growth, job creation and sustainable development by supporting policy makers, eco-innovative small and medium sized enterprises, industries, start-ups and entrepreneurs in the Southern Mediterranean countries.
The EU-funded SwitchMed Programme supports and connects stakeholders to scale-up social and eco innovations in the Mediterranean.
Skaff Dairy Farm is a small-sized enterprise, which produces around 840 t of dairy products annually for the local market. Skaff Dairy Farm joined the MED TEST II project in order to improve quality and reduce defects, to drive out waste and continuously improve cost efficiency. The main problems the company faced was energy and finished products losses. The company was already ISO 22000:2005 certified at the project start.
Kari Herlevi is a versatile multi-talent in the field of circular economy. He is currently leading the circular economy area at Sitra, the Finnish Innovation Fund. Previously responsible for the Resource efficient economy area in Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation, he managed the Green Growth – Towards a sustainable future -programme, which aimed to identify potential new growth areas for the sustainable economy business. Previously Kari led the Vigo accelerator programme at Tekes and supported Tekes management. Kari has also worked in the Tekes Silicon Valley office for a few years and his special interests are circular economy, fast growing cleantech firms and developing countries like BRIC.
Ladeja Godina Košir is recognised as the regional "engine of circular economy". She is the founder and executive director of the Circular Change platform, finalist of The Circular Leadership Award 2018 and Chair of the European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform. Ladeja has more than 20 years’ experience in communications on economic and societal transformation across the Adriatic region, empowering a new narrative of circular culture.
Circular Change is a private non-profit organisation serving as the entry point for circular economy projects across Europe. Instrumental in the stakeholder-led drafting of the Roadmap towards the Circular Economy for Slovenia, adopted by Slovenia's government in May 2018, the platform also serves as Slovenian Circular Hotspot within the Circular Hotspot Network. Overall the platform advocates for a stronger link between design and circular economy as the key to creating products that are useful, efficient, repairable and beautiful.
This book will help you discovering a large number of experiments and actions which can be reproduced on your level of action. Their generalisation to the whole France is currently a priority if we want to lead the ecological transition of our society. Nevertheless, circular economy is not something which can be decreed, and each territory wishing to invest in it has to reinvent its own process to adapt and implement the concept to its own specificities.