On 7 March the European Commission will host a workshop to inform stakeholders about the product environmental footprint, its development and possible contribution to a Single Market for Green Products.
You are here
The European Commission is conducting a stakeholder consultation on the EU Ecolabel to gather views and identify opportunities to increase uptake of this voluntary ecolabelling scheme.
Enablers and Barriers to a Circular Economy
The report provides a simple, yet rich overview of the barriers and enablers of circular economy business models as identifed by stakeholders, drawing upon a range of interviews, workshops and events, and a survey conducted with representatives of the European business sector.
Within businesses, stakeholders have identified high-level commitment accompanied by long-term perspectives, the personal drive and attitudes of staff, as well as the promise of enhanced competitiveness as key in supporting the transition towards circularity. Yet, from an internal company perspective, a number of factors were highlighted as getting in the way of the transition. Difficulties in financing new business models, taxation systems, resistance to change and the perceived lack of consumer demand are key examples of obstacles that hamper the circular transformation.
Importantly, stakeholders have provided interesting insights into possible solutions and recommendations able to overcome the challenges posed by circular economy barriers: tax incentives, the development of wealth-measurement systems other than GDP, material passports and quality standards, to name a few. Future solutions should also focus on ensuring safe areas for innovation out of tendering calls, green public procurement and increased financial support.
Two years later: the EU Circular Economy Package
The EU Circular Economy Package pushes forward the concepts of ‘recycle, repair and re-use’, as well as waste avoidance. To comply with the Package many EU countries will need a completely new waste treatment system, and many companies will need to re-think some established business models.
Two years after adopting the Circular Economy Package, the EU institutions have finally agreed on a new EU waste regulation. The paper entitled Two years later: the EU Circular Economy Package evaluates recent EU policy moves and decisions. It also analyses the status quo of Germany's circular economy efforts and compares them to those of other EU member states. Finally, some of the risks and opportunities for companies are outlined.
This paper is an update of a previously published policy paper by Dr. Adriana Neligan (2016), which discussed the Package after it was presented in late 2016.
2025 recycling target: only 10 EU countries on track
Two years after adopting the Circular Economy Package, the EU institutions have finally agreed on new EU waste rules. Despite lower recycling targets as originally envisaged, most countries still have to push recycling to meet the goals. A single method of determining recycling rates was also decided, but an exemption will continue to allow for disparate recycling rates.
Recycling has become increasingly important in Europe: EU recycling rates increased from 32 to 46 per cent between 2005 and 2016. Yet, more progress is needed to reach the targets.
ECO.NOMIA | The Portuguese Circular Economy Information Portal
The ECO.NOMIA portal, created in 2016, is one of the components of the Portuguese Action Plan for Circular Economy (2017), adopting the role of a knowledge-sharing space. It is a one-stop-shop for all things circular, in Portuguese, aimed at citizens, companies and investors. Not only does it explain the principles, advantages and opportunities of the circular economy, it also provides examples and information on financing, learning opportunities and national and international events.
Create a financeable circular business in 10 steps
When deciding on which circular strategies to implement, the financeability of a business is also affected. For example, product-service combinations are seen as a promising, future earning model, but they currently encounter considerable funding challenges such as securing stable cash flows, reducing risks and matching investments with payback periods. Additionally, evolving business strategies, including changing value propositions and chain collaborations, should be topics on the agenda. Enabling the transition towards these new business models is key to successfully implementing circular business strategies and future proofing our economy.
In order to better understand how these challenges could be addressed, Circle Economy and the Sustainable Finance Lab worked with circular business managers and financiers to identify ways to fund circular business strategies, a key element they desperately need to achieve. Building on this research the authors outline the following 10 Steps to Financeability in this report:
- Decide on a logical starting point
- Generate profit through multiple use cycles
- Align incentives throughout the supply chain
- Be transparent about the value proposition
- Redefine the role of retail
- Gradually transition to product-service systems by combining revenue models
- Secure stable cash flows through a robust contract
- Mitigate debtor risk
- Match asset value, payback period and contract duration
- Measure environmental impact on financial performance.
Smart Circular Economy is an international workshop focusing on the role of ICT as an enabler for the Circular Economy. This workshop will bring together scientists and researchers as well as relevant stakeholders from industry and local communities to share and exchange their experiences, discuss challenges, and report state-of-the-art and in-progress research at the intersection of ICT and the Circular Economy. Accepted and presented papers will appear at IEEE Xplore and will be listed by all major indexes.
Registration is now open for the 2019 Circular Economy Stakeholder Conference: Success Stories and New Challenges, to be held March 6 and 7 in Brussels. Apply until January 31st to attend this conference, grow your network of circular partners and participate in taking stock of the Circular Economy Action Plan’s achievements while setting the ground for new horizons in the circular economy.
Circularity Gap Report 2019
The Circularity Gap Report 2019 finds that the global economy is only 9% circular - just 9% of the 92.8 billion tonnes of minerals, fossil fuels, metals and biomass that enter the economy are re-used annually. Climate change and material use are closely linked. Circle Economy calculates that 62% of global greenhouse gas emissions (excluding those from land use and forestry) are released during the extraction, processing and manufacturing of goods to serve society’s needs; only 38% are emitted in the delivery and use of products and services.
It highlights the vast scope to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by applying circular principles - re-use, re-manufacturing and re-cycling - to key sectors such as the built environment. Yet it notes that most governments barely consider circular economy measures in policies aimed at meeting the UN target of limiting global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
This report thus highlights three key circular strategies which could be adapted throughout the economy to help limit global warming and gives examples:
- Optimising the utility of products by maximising their use and extending their lifetime. Ridesharing and carsharing already make it less important to own a car. Autonomous driving will accelerate this trend, potentially increasing the usage of each vehicle by a factor of eight. At the same time electric powertrains, intelligent maintenance programmes and software integration can enhance the lifetime of cars.
- Enhanced recycling, using waste as a resource. By 2050 there will be an estimated 78 million tonnes of decommissioned solar panels. Modular design would enable products to be easily disassembled, components to be re-used and valuable materials to be recovered to extend their economic value and reduce waste.
- Circular design, reducing material consumption and using lower-carbon alternatives. Bamboo, wood and other natural materials have the potential to reduce dependence on carbon-intensive materials such as cement and metals in construction. Instead of emitting carbon, these materials store it and will last for decades. They can be burnt to generate energy at the end of their life.
The report also provides recommendations for governments: while The Netherlands has set itself a target of becoming 50% circular by 2030 and 100% by 2050, most governments have yet to wake up to the potential of the circular economy. The report recommends joining up climate change and circular economy strategies to achieve maximum impact, through the use of tax and spending plans to drive change. They should:
- Abolish financial incentives which encourage overuse of natural resources, such as subsidies for fossil fuel exploration, extraction and consumption;
- Raise taxes on emissions, excessive resource extraction and waste production, for example by implementing a gradually increasing carbon tax;
- Lower taxes on labour, knowledge and innovation and invest in these areas. Lower labour taxes will encourage labour-intensive parts of a circular economy such as take-back schemes and recycling.
On 22 January 2019, Circle Economy launched the second annual Circularity Gap Report in Davos during the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting.
Italian Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform
The Italian Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform (ICESP) is the mirror initiative launched at national level by the National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (ENEA) - the only Italian member of the ECESP's Coordination Group.
The ICESP is a "network of networks" bringing together circular economy initiatives, experiences, critical issues and perspectives from Italy which can be represented at European level. Its objective is to promote the Italian way for circular economy at national and international level, through the involvement of Italian stakeholders.
The ICESP acts through six working groups: 1) Research and eco-innovation, 2) Policy and governance, 3) Measuring the circular economy, 4) Sustainable and circular design, production, distribution and consumption, 5) Cities and territory, 6) Good practices.
Scientific journal Nature addresses setting up an international platform to share data and experiences, and coordinating industrial policies and trade to conserve resources and energy.
In view of the environmental, economic and social challenges facing our current society, the Walloon Brabant region is determined to offer a space for balanced discussions, guidelines and for helping make the right decisions, to be taken today to preserve the generations of tomorrow. In order to encourage exemplary initiatives, raise awareness and encourage people to adopt good practices, Walloon Brabant organises Trophées Incidences 2019 for businesses, farmers, associations, individuals and public services.
Two events dedicated to circular economy, in the form of workshops for specific audiences - To transform business models and create an enabling policy environment.
Report on Horizon 2020 R&I projects supporting the transition to a Circular Economy
The European Commission has published a policy booklet presenting a selection of its research, science and innovation on climate change adaptation. In order to mitigate the impacts of climate change and to adapt to the changes that are already taking place or are impossible to avoid, fundamental changes in societies and behaviours all over the world – as well as scientific breakthroughs, both technological and social - will need to be made.
The objective of the report is to provide a snapshot of the numerous projects resulting from the calls for proposals of 2016-2017 in the Horizon 2020 priorities ‘Industrial leadership’ and ‘Societal Challenges’, that are contributing to the circular economy strategy.
Without aiming to be exhaustive or exclusive, the 156 listed projects represent a good sample of actions financed by Horizon 2020 in the different stages of a circular economy (production, consumption and waste).
The spectrum of priorities contemplated by the selected projects are very diverse and address more sustainable production in all kind of industrial processes, new bio-based and biodegradable products, substitution or recovery of raw materials, conversion of CO2 packaging, plastics, etc.
From 14 to 18 January 2019, Nederland Circulair! invites everyone to the Dutch Week of the Circular Economy 2019.
Introduction to the Circularity Check for products and services.
Polish Circular Hotspot
The Polish Circular Hotspot is a public-private platform bringing together national and local government bodies with businesses, entrepreneurs, the scientific community and civil society to jointly develop and apply the concept of a circular economy in Poland.
The hotspot has begun the following activities to develop and implement circular innovations:
organising events (sectoral, regional, national) to analyse specific problems and legislative issues such as workshops on circular procurement for public agencies
assisting with drafting strategies and roadmaps while supporting the establishment of sectoral partnerships for practical circular solutions
networking businesses to exchange knowledge, showcase innovations and connecting Polish entrepreneurs with partners abroad, e.g. through study visits and B2B monitoring sessions with the support of the Dutch, Swedish, German, French and Danish Embassies.
educating those interested in the circular economy concept, for example by organising the national educational campaign ‘Polish Circular Week’
Becoming a member of the Polish Circular Hotspot enables you to work with Polish and foreign partners in building innovative solutions and exchanging best practice across sectors. The hotspot also provides its members with opportunities to shape the debate on emerging circular economy legislation and collaborate in funding projects through partnerships.
Circle Economy and AMFI bring together next generation and current industry professionals to tackle global challenges through circular innovation over two inspiring days of action.