https://circulareconomyhotspotbelgium.be/The Circular Economy Hotspot highlights and promotes the endeavours of companies and organisations that are fostering innovation in the field of circular economy. After The Netherlands, Luxembourg and Scotland, Belgium will be hosting in 2019.
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From shoemaker to wind energy park engineer: 7.5% of all jobs in Belgium are circular, shows new analysis by the King Baudouin Foundation and Circle Economy. The baseline measurement of employment in the Belgian circular economy provides insights into the nature and number of jobs in the country’s circular economy.
As global leaders gather in New York for Climate Week NYC in September 2019, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation has issued a new paper, in cooperation with Material Economics, revealing the need for a fundamental shift in the global approach to tackling climate change. As set out in Completing the Picture: How the Circular Economy tackles Climate Change, moving to renewables can only address 55% of global greenhouse gas emissions. To achieve UN climate goals, the paper highlights the urgent need to tackle the remaining 45%.
Renewable energy is not enough. There needs to be a fundamental shift in the global approach to tackling climate change and the circular economy can play an essential role.
Completing the Picture: How the Circular Economy Tackles Climate Change, a paper published by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, tells us:
- Greenhouse gas emissions are not dropping quickly enough to achieve climate targets and switching to renewable energy can only cut them by 55%
- The remaining 45% of emissions come from how we make and use products, and how we produce food
Whilst the circular economy is underpinned by renewable energy, the paper concentrates on five key areas (cement, plastics, steel, aluminium, and food) to illustrate how designing out waste, keeping materials in use, and regenerating farmland can reduce these emissions.
Circular economy, the new concept for attaining sustainable consumption and production, will not be implemented without multisectoral and international cooperation. INNOWO, Circular Change, INCIEN Czechia, and INCIEN Slovakia are launching the International Circular Week this year to promote circular economy across countries. This International Circular Week will take place from 7 to 13 October 2019, and aims to engage all circular stakeholders in central Europe and beyond.
The Elephant in the Boardroom: Why Unchecked Consumption is Not an Option in Tomorrow’s Markets is a working paper from the World Resources Institute that can guide discussion within companies about an uncomfortable truth: many of today’s business models are not fit for tomorrow’s resource-strained world.
Normalizing the conversation will set the groundwork for the pursuit of new business models that allow growth within the planet’s limits and generate stakeholder value in new and exciting ways.
This research, part of the CEC4Europe factbook on the circular economy published in September 2018, evaluates 131 projects from the Circular Economy Industry Platform (CEIP) regarding their contribution to circular economy from both a scientific and political perspective.
Content analysis was applied to derive qualitative and quantitative information from company statements on the platform. This was supplemented by qualitative, semi-structured interviews with company representatives on selected projects. Results showed a diverse approach to circularity across the sample projects, thereby partly expanding the sectoral focus of the circular economy package.
Eco-design, eco-innovation and business models acted as strong enablers for circular actions in the sample, reflecting respective EU policies.
At the same time, sample projects heavily relied on recycling while missing out on potentially more efficient circular principles such as reduction or reuse.
High diversity in criteria was found regarding the evaluation of overall environmental impacts, with some projects using purely qualitative assessment methods, while other projects presented elaborate quantitative environmental evaluations, including significant positive impact potential. Regulatory challenges were specifically reported regarding the introduction of sound circularity quotas and targets, regarding definitional ambiguities, as well as regarding issues around unknown material compositions that currently impede recirculation.
In March 2019, the Italian Circular Economy Network hosted a national conference on the circular economy, where it presented this Report on the Italian circular economy in 2019. Based on the methodology used, comparing the 5 most important European economies, Italy is the top performer in terms of circular economy implementation, ahead of the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Spain (in this order). While Italy’s position has remained unchanged compared to the previous year, there are some small signs of a slowdown which must be taken into account.
The report makes the following 10 proposals for a circular economy in Italy:
- Spread and enrich circular vision, knowledge, research and good practices
- Implement a national strategy and action plan
- Improve the use of economic instruments
- Promote a regenerative bio-economy
- Integrate circular principles in public procurement
- Promote city initiatives
- Ensure rapid and effective implementation of the 2018 EU waste framework legislation
- Rapidly activate an effective end of waste (EoW) regulation
- Ensure the necessary business support infrastructure
- Extend circular principles to e-commerce
The Estonian Ministry of the Environment and the Environment Agency will hold a second circular economy conference on 5-6 November in Tallinn.
The Inštitút cirkulárnej ekonomiky (Institute for Circular Economy) is Slovakia’s circular economy network, connecting public actors and private to accelerate the transition to a circular economy in Slovakia.
The Institute regularly publishes overviews of the circular economy in Slovakia, and supports municipalities with improving waste management locally, while also developing circular business models with companies. One such innovative programme specifically targets festival organisers, helping them reduce waste at large scale events.
The Institut Cirkulární Ekonomiky (Institute for Circular Economy) is the Czech Republic’s foremost circular economy non-profit focusing on innovative environmental management. Together with its partners, the Institute works on projects that further the transition from a linear towards a circular system.
These include analytical and educational programmes as well as project management tools for various organisations and individuals, such as:
- Annual Waste as Resource conference for local authorities
- Zajimej.se, the Czech language web portal on circular economy
- Uplatni.se portal connecting companies with students looking for internships and thesis in circular economy
Additionally, the Institute also engages private companies and public sector institutions with research, events, workshops and policy development in the Czech Republic.
The Prague Circular Hub is a joint initiative by the Institut Cirkularni Ekonomiky, Alliance for Renewable Energy and the Brno Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Its vision is to build a cultural and innovation centre which seeks to acquaint the general and professional public with circular economy. With discussions, seminars, conferences, as well as pilot projects aimed at testing new research methods in the field of circular economy, the Prague Circular Hub contributes to the active transformation into a circular system.
While the Hub has already completed a Prague Circular Scan with the support of Circle Economy, it continues to organise regular ‘buzz talks’ and conduct further research to promote the adoption of circular business models in the Czech capital.
Žiedine Ekonomika (Circular Economy) is a Lithuanian association promoting a circular economy. This non-profit organisation networks local, national and European public authorities with companies to help develop circular business models in Lithuania.
In 2018, the Estonian Environmental Management Association established a Circular Economy Forum, which now already counts several companies among its members and receives support from the national Ministry of Environment.
The Circular Economy Forum is an open platform for communication and cooperation to raise business awareness of the circular economy and support wider application of circular business models.
The forum is aimed at companies operating in Estonia that have an interest in applying circular economy principles in practice. Alongside regular events, the forum also publishes good practices from Estonian industry.
To join the forum, email firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information:
- Company name
- Name and contact details of company representative
- What is your interest in circular economy?
The Hungarian Foundation for Circular Economy established a Circular Hungary Program in 2018, the objective of which is to promote the acceleration to a circular economy transition in Hungary. The program aims to identify obstacles and gaps as well as improve the conditions and environment at technological, regulatory, market, consumer behaviour and financing levels for circular products, practices and projects. This is a business-led initiative, with more than 12 corporations already signed up to take part.
Companies, organisations, institutions and local governments can join the Circular Hungary Program. More information and membership conditions can be found here (in Hungarian)
The WRAP (Waste and Resource Action Plan) is a UK catalyst active in the space between citizens, government and businesses that focuses on maximising the value of waste by increasing the quantity and quality of materials collected for re-use and recycling. It does so by conducting research, brokering voluntary agreements and implementing campaigns to empower consumer action.
- Barriers to Recycling at Home helped hundreds of local authorities build an evidence base and coherent strategy to get communities engaged and committed to recycling.
- Switched on to value identified £1 billion of unused electronics in UK homes, and demonstrates that extending the life of electrical products could save businesses £400 million a year.
- Reducing Food Waste by Extending Product Life motivated supermarket Tesco to source fresh produce more quickly, helping them to offer their customers products that stay fresh for longer.
- Valuing Our Clothes provided the first comprehensive insight into the financial and environmental impact of clothing. It revealed that UK households own £30 billion worth of unused clothing.
- The Courtauld Commitment 2025 is an ambitious voluntary agreement that brings together a broad range of organisations to make food and drink production and consumption more sustainable. It builds on the success of the Courtauld Commitments 1, 2 and 3 in preventing waste and avoiding carbon emissions.
- The Sustainable Clothing Action Plan (SCAP) brings together industry, government and the third sector to reduce resource use and improve the sustainability of clothing. The agreement targets every stage of the clothing journey, bringing together retailers, brands, re-use and recycling organisations, charities and NGOs, which collectively make up over 40% of UK clothing sales.
- The UK Plastics Pact aims to create a circular economy for plastics. It brings together businesses from across the entire plastics value chain with UK governments and NGOs to tackle the scourge of plastic waste.
- Love Food Hate Waste in partnership with major UK supermarkets. The campaign gives individuals the information they need to recognise and tackle food waste.
- Love Your Clothes offers practical advice to help people make the most of their clothes, as well as demonstrating the benefits of repairing, re-using and recycling them.
- Recycle Now provides information and advice to help individuals recycle more. It is the national recycling campaign for England, used by over 90% of English local authorities.
Circular Norway is Norway's first and only politically independent, independent member organisation that works nationally to transform a linear to a circular economy. On behalf of its members, the association works politically to strengthen framework conditions and increase the pace of change.
Circular Norway helps its members to make better use of their resources and strengthens their competitiveness in the national and international market. Through practical help, expertise and knowledge networks, it makes the transition to a circular economy both easier and more profitable.
The network published the first comprehensive report on Norway and Circular Economy in April 2019, and has also begun producing visual guides to explain the principles of circular economy for a Norwegian audience. Circular Norway was instrumental in bringing the concept to the forefront of political discussion by hosting a session on circular economy at the August 2019 'arendulska political festival'.
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.
Cradlenet is a multi-stakeholder association founded in 2009 to disseminate the Cradle2Cradle concept across Sweden, which has become the country's foremost circular economy network.
Cradlenet aims to accelerate Sweden's transition to a circular economy among companies, organisations and people in order to provide inspiration and momentum, and knowledge about developments in circular thinking.
With all seminars free of charge, Cradlenet members have access to further networking events and knowledge research.
Cradlenet is a non-profit association operating out of Stockholm, and with local networks in Umeå , Malmö and Gothenburg.
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.
Join a 1one-hour webinar for a deeper understanding of the circular economy business model patterns identified by the R2π Consortium, to highlight key enablers and tools for implementation at the company level
The town of Riihimäki is already a member of FISU (Finnish Sustainable Communities), a network of Finnish municipalities committed to becoming waste-free, and has now adopted a circular economy roadmap focusing on the participation of local actors.
In 2017, the local authorities asked the 29,000 inhabitants of this town what sustainable choices they would be ready to make and how the municipal council could best enable these. Inhabitants also contributed ideas to develop the resource efficiency of Riihimäki.
The circular economy and resource efficiency roadmap of Riihimäki covers five themes:
- Carbon neutral energy production and consumption
- Sustainable circulation and ecologically efficient town structure
- Sustainable consumption of natural resources and circular economy
- Diversity of nature and comfortable living environment
- Inhabitant responsibility in Riihimäki.
Every one of these themes is dealt with by taking into account the following points of view:
- Vision for 2050
- Methods of working: who realises the vision
- Actions, ideas, commitments and promises
- Measures and indicators for monitoring and follow-up.
In addition to municipal actions, the Riihimäki roadmap also includes commitments to circular economy by local companies and communities. The roadmap also accentuates the education of students and recent graduates with the aim of incorporating the circular economy into all professional fields.
As cooperation is central to circular economym, the Riihimäki roadmap’s guiding principle is to increase cooperation between different communities and companies. The aim is to share good practice by developing a cluster that will monitor how companies are progressing and promote circular economy cooperation.
In the framework of the CIRCWASTE project, coordinated by SYKE (Finnish Environment Institute), pioneering municipalities have developed local circular economy roadmaps in 2019. This roadmap, adopted by Finland's fourth biggest city, is based first and foremost on what stakeholders identify as local strengths, special characteristics and challenges.
Vantaa’s roadmap lists the priorities, objectives and actions to take in 2019-2030 that could a promote circular economy locally. Its priorities are the following:
- circular business models
- circular economy in construction
- circular public procurement
- sharing economy.
The objectives are to be reached by 2030 in four timeframes, with responsibility for implementation shared among several local stakeholders that vary from municipal utilities to private companies. Specific indicators have been developed to measure and report on progress.
To stimulate circular business models locally, the municipality will set up a local cluster in cooperation with Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority HSY.
Vantaa’s roadmap also puts a strong emphasis on construction and land use, committing to increase local (re)-use of soil and recycled materials in construction, which should reduce GHG emissions from transport. The use of demolished concrete has already increased and become fairly commonplace in infrastructure projects. It is used in street structures, repairs of building elevations and green landscaping.
In addition to this, Vantaa aims to develop a set of procurement criteria incorporating circular economy principles. As the circular economy benefits the natural environment, businesses and residents alike, cooperation among stakeholders is central to implementation of the roadmap.
In the framework of the CIRCWASTE project, coordinated by SYKE (Finnish Environment Institute), pioneering municipalities have developed local circular economy roadmaps in 2019. The City of Porvoo is one of these and published its own circular economy roadmap in May 2019 to steer efforts that promote resource efficiency and circular economy in the coming years, so it can build on successes to date that range.
A steering group of 16 municipal civil servants and other local stakeholders drafted this roadmap, which focuses in particular on the following objectives:
- increasing the use of recycled materials in excavation and building sites
- cooperating to improve energy efficiency
- reducing the amount of total waste while increasing the level of recycling municpal waste.
The amount of high-quality soil and rock is not increasing in Finland, nor is the land area growing. This is why in Porvoo stakeholders are desiging a built environment that takes into account the sustainable use of soil materials and other resources.
Porvoo also aims to reduce food waste and improve the recycling of municipal waste through counselling and outreach for and to citizens. The impact of counselling on the volume of food waste is monitored at schools by weighing plate waste, for example. In addition to this, Porvoo will promote waste sorting by improving the quality of the recycling network using life-cycle analysis.
The roadmap also includes specific circular economy tasks and challenges for the local authorities and companies of the City of Porvoo to implement, with the most urgent having a completion date of 2020 while others have targets for 2030.
In the framework of the CIRCWASTE project, Southwest Finland developed a circular economy roadmap in late 2018 to help implementation of the national waste plan and define regional objectives with concrete measures to achieve these.
The Finnish Environment Institute formed an expert network on circular economy, and began identifying regional strengths and special characteristics to start with.
In 2018, the Central Finland region produced approximately 1,8 million tonnes of different kinds of waste. Stakeholders thus sought to focus on waste management during the drafting process, and received training on, for example, plastic lifespan and creativity in the circular economy alongside many networking opportunities.
While the overarching theme is public procurement, the regional strategy focuses on the following sectors in particular:
- construction and demolition waste (62% of all waste in the region)
- biodegradable waste, biogas and the nutrient reuse (approximately 30% of non-recycled waste is biodegradable waste)
- plastics (in 2018 households generated approximately 6,000 tonnes of such waste)
- electric and electronic wreckage (in 2018 citizens generated approximately 6,000 tonnes of such waste)
This roadmap seeks to reduce the amount of construction and demolition waste and increase reuse of such waste to 70%. The partial activities helping to reach the targets are listed in the roadmap.
Different stakeholders, ranging from municipal or regional authorities, to national institutes, educational establishments, and private companies will take responsibility for implementation.
In 2018, Finland's easternmost region of North Karelia adopted a circular economy roadmap as part of the CIRCWASTE project. Its objectives are to:
- enhance material and energy efficiency and improve natural resource use
- make circular economy inherent to industrial production in priority sectors and strengthen the regional cooperation network in the field of circular economy
- strengthen and stimluate new circular business models while developing new technological solutions and know-how in the region.
Regarding waste management overall, this strategy aims to increase knowledge and change overall consumer attitudes.
A system to recycle construction waste is set for development, and will focus on logistics, demolition methods and supervision. This strategy aims to improve training concerning waste management in particular, and motivate companies to consider waste already in the planning stage.
As for municipal waste management, the strategy hopes to improve the collection network and logistics by creating incentives and introducing monitoring systems.
The objectives are to be reached in different timeframes by 2030. For each partial target, responsibilities have been shared among various actors: municipalities, the Regional Council of North Karelia, private companies, educational establishments, organisations etc.
The circular economy roadmap of the South Karelia region in Finland, along the Russian border, was drawn up at the end of 2018 in the framework of the CIRCWASTE project. The Finnish Environment Institute formed an expert network on circular economy, and began by identifying regional strengths and specific characteristics.
In South Karelia, stakeholders set the objectives of circular economy as
- Sustainable wellbeing, no emissions, no waste, or excessive consumption
- More jobs and business activity in the field of environment
- Strengthening of knowledge and training in environmental and circular economy issues.
Stakeholders at different levels are responsible for achieving specific targets, and range from the regional development council to municipalities, private companies, networks, universities and other educational establishments, etc.
For manufacturing, this strategy focuses on construction and mining, energy efficiency, renewable energies, reducing CO2 emissions, increasing recycling and improving waste management.
Regarding bio-based industries such as forestry in particular, this strategy focuses on by-products, nutrient recycling, and developing new products and materials.
To develop intelligent public services, the region is hoping to stimulate the sharing economy and improve digital services.
This strategy perceives the factors enabling circular economy as citizen engagement, research cooperation, developing educational curricula, and the role of government procurement.
South Karelia's performance will be monitored using the following indicators:
- the amount and level of recycled municipal waste
- the amount and level of recycled construction and demolition waste
- the amount of biodegradable municipal waste and the amounts of composted or decomposed biodegradable municipal waste
- the amount and level of electrical or electronics waste.
The region has also set itself goals to:
- create 500 new jobs in environmental businesses by 2030
- increase by 20% the number of businesses in waste management and recycling within the region.
In the framework of the European Week of Regions and Cities and as part of the Urban Agenda Partnership for Circular Economy, a session on Circular Economy as a strategy for cities and regions will be organised on 8 October 2019.
In the framework of the CIRCWASTE project, Southwest Finland developed a circular economy roadmap to implement the national waste plan and define regional objectives with concrete measures to achieve these.
The Finnish Environment Institute formed an expert network on circular economy, and began identifying regional strengths and special characteristics to start with. A regional cooperation group of more than 20 members was founded to work the strategy. It was composed of representatives from various towns, education establishments, the Regional Council of Soutwest Finland, private companies etc.
For Southwest Finland, stakeholders set a focus on sustainable food systems, high-tech industry, transport and logistics. Public services and knowledge exchange with industry, academia and civil society are the overarching themes.
The objectives and measures are classified along the priority sectors:
- biodegradable waste
- nutrient reuse
- municipal waste.
Targeted training and versatile learning materials will advance circular economy in construction, where the strategy aims to generate less waste and increase the use of construction and demolition waste to 70%.
As Southwest Finland is a national frontrunner in making use of agricultural by-products and nutrient reuse, the region wants to build on its strengths and halve food waste by 2030. Another goal in this area is to increase the amount of recycled organic waste to 60%.
Additionally the strategy hopes to decouple municipal waste growth from regional GDP growth, and increase recycling to 55%.