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Luxembourg as a knowledge capital and testing ground for the circular economy
The circular economy is more than a potential model for Luxembourg; it is an economic imperative. Due to its history of exhausting resources then finding substitutes, Luxembourg is already a testing ground for circularity methods. For example its steel, aluminum, glass, and other industries are expert at re-using secondary raw materials. The re-use of those materials is core to their economic survival. It is a competitive necessity to sharpen their capacities in those areas.
Because Luxembourg’s exemplary European society is based on equity, cultural tolerance, economic stability, responsive government and manageable size, the country is a powerful proving ground for circularity. Its heritage of quality and its service-based economy allow leveraging of skills to take advantage of the embedded growth potential. The likely benefits for Luxembourg are considerable. The starting position is excellent. The capabilities and motivation seem to be in place. It is now only a question of providing a nucleus and initial catalyst to accelerate the transition towards a circular economy at scale. The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and the Ministry of the Economy in particular have powerful roles to play as catalysts for circularity.
In the present situation where knowledge of circular economy potential is low but know-how for supporting technology and services is high, the government has a special brief opportunity to seize the initiative by delivering powerful messages about circularity through initiating and coordinating actions, as well as supporting those with a solid foundation of education, training and national co-branding. By leveraging those mechanisms the government will provide the enabling framework for its stakeholders to implement a circular economy with innovative lighthouse initiatives.
The Austrian Circular Economy Platform Circular Futures was launched in March 2018 at the House of the European Union in Vienna.
Join leading and learning cities, policy-makers from European and national governments, businesses, research and finance institutions for the 9th edition of the Local Renewables Series in Freiburg and Basel from 24 to 26 October 2018. This ICLEI conference will showcase practical and innovative examples of how to reduce energy and resource use, and make ideal use of energy sources and other resources in the region.
Circular Futures-Plattform Kreislaufwirtschaft Österreich
"Circular Futures - Plattform Kreislaufwirtschaft Österreich" is a solution-oriented multistakeholder platform that brings together professionals across relevant industries, the administration, politics, science and civil society in Austria. Circular Futures acts as a think-tank, incubator, and catalyst for projects and initiatives necessary for a successful transition to a circular economy in Austria.
Circular Futures offers:
- A website that serves as a central information and communication platform;
- Knowledge events on the circular economy to inform and mobilise stakeholders;
- Targeted capacity-building for relevant stakeholders through workshops, trainings, and the publication of project information;
- The coordination of local activities and strengthening of regional networks; and
- The involvement of relevant stakeholders in political processes (consultations, strategy/guideline developments, etc.) through information-sharing and mobilization.
Circular Futures AT is a collaboration between the Umweltdachverband and the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), the Reuse and Repair Network Austria (RepaNet), and the Verband Abfallberatung Österreich (VABÖ).
SAVE THE DATE: The EEB 2018 Annual Conference will take place on Monday 5 November in Brussels. The website and online registration will be launched later this year. In the meantime, check out the documentation from our 2017 Annual Conference!
Bracenet collects discarded fishing nets, sends these to Norway to have them turned into fabric and then produces unique wristbands in workshops that provide employment opportunities to disabled persons.
The Estonian Ministry of Environment is organising its first conference on the circular economy for entrepreneurs in retail, mining and manufacturing 17-18 September in Tallinn. This conference will showcase innovative activities and circular business models to entrepreneurs, who can also benefit from one-on-one counselling and specialised workshops for free.
Implementing Circular Economy globally makes Paris targets achievable
The climate conference in Paris has produced a landmark agreement. The emission reduction commitments made by 195 countries are a leap forward, but not yet sufficient to stay on a 2 °C trajectory, let alone a 1.5 °C pathway. Current commitments address only half the gap between business as usual and the 1.5 °C pathway. There is still a reduction of about 15 billion tonnes CO2e needed to reach the 1.5 °C target. Further solutions are therefore needed; solutions that go beyond decarbonising our energy system. This white paper by Ecofys and Circle Economy looks into the contribution a global circular economy could presumably make to bridging the emissions gap.
Since over half of the worldwide greenhouse gas emissions are associated with producing basic materials, there is a clear role for circular economy strategies in reducing this gap. To do this, the circular economy describes a practical and scalable landscape of opportunities by moving towards business models for an economy that is by design regenerative and as waste free as possible. Strategies at the heart of the circular economy include measures to reduce the input of virgin materials, improve the use of existing assets and reduce the output of waste. Circular economy strategies related to materials are: recovery and reuse, lifetime extension, sharing and service models, circular design and digital platforms.
Circular Economy and Employment
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.
Employment and the circular economy: Job creation in a more resource efficient Britain
Britain faces huge economic challenges in its use of labour and scarce natural resources. Although unemployment is now falling, the risk of being out of work is higher in some regions and for some types of occupations. While Britain has significantly increased its resource efficiency in recent years, supply risks in an increasingly competitive global economy mean that we need to get better at using natural resources. A new research study, undertaken jointly by WRAP and the Green Alliance, shows that these challenges are linked: improving our resource efficiency can make a valuable contribution to improving Britain’s labour market situation.
One route to improving resource efficiency is to develop a circular economy. This involves keeping products and resources in use for as long as possible through recovery, reuse, repair, remanufacturing and recycling. In addition to protecting the environment, this potentially offers substantial economic benefits. These include greater economic stability through increased resource security and new business and employment opportunities from an expanding industrial sector. This study focuses on the second aspect and identifies the scope for the growth of the circular economy to offer new jobs.
The study finds that regions where unemployment is higher, such as the North East and the West Midlands, could see the greatest impact on job creation, especially among low to mid-skilled occupations where job losses are projected for the future.
The study finds that if we stay on the current development path for the circular economy in Britain, then by 2030 the sector could:
- require an extra 205,000 jobs;
- reduce unemployment by around 54,000; and
- offset 11% of future losses in skilled employment.
Alternatively, under a transformational scenario where there was a more extensive expansion of circular economy activities, by 2030 the sector could create over half a million jobs, reduce unemployment by over 100,000 and potentially offset around 18% of the expected future losses in skilled employment.
Circular Jobs: Understanding employment in the Circular Economy in the Netherlands
To ensure that policymakers and governments know how and where to implement the circular economy effectively, there is a great need for practical tools to measure it.
Aimed at defining, identifying and quantifying employment opportunities that are needed in the circular economy, Circle Economy and the Erasmus Research Institute for Happiness Economics (Ehero) have developed a standardised and replicable methodology that measures circular employment in cities around the world. This opens up the possibility of monitoring circular employment and therefore empowers cities and governments to effectively invest in the jobs of the future.
The initial findings of this joint research show that 8.1% of all jobs in the Netherlands are currently circular. Once identified, the circular jobs were categorised according to the seven key elements of the circular economy, showing that a large majority are focused on ‘incorporating digital technology’ and ‘preserving and extending what’s already made’. In the past fifteen years, activities that involve ‘repair & maintenance‘ have remained stable in numbers, with the ‘incorporation of digital technologies’ becoming an up and coming job provider. This points to the importance of knowledge-intensive industries and innovation within the Dutch economy.
LIPOR's Environmental Education and Intervention Program aims to create an educational offer that encourages citizens to implement good environmental practices and facilitates the acquisition of skills that support civic intervention and a sustainable development.
LIPOR intends to reach 90 000 people with its awareness campaign within its catchment area. This involves delivering about 10 direct environmental awareness actions to the community its environmental education technicians daily.
LIPOR’s annual prevention programme includes several projects and initiatives implemented across all eight municipalities aiming to prevent and reduce food waste.
With the “Embrulha" (Pack It) project LIPOR wants to engage 50 restaurants in Porto Municipality and 10 restaurants in other LIPOR municipalities to recover 6 tonnes of food waste.
The "Dose Certa" (Right Portion) project aims to certify 46 food establishments in total.
The Strategic Plan for Urban Waste 2020 (PERSU 2020) is the reference instrument of the urban waste policy in Portugal.
LIPOR has defined a target of 50 kg per inhabitant a year in 2020 for selective collection as a goal. Several projects that aim to increase multi-material and organic recovery figures are defined in LIPOR's strategic plan.
For landfills, the target is a maximum value of landfill of biodegradable waste deposition of 10%.
One public tender for catering services with fully sustainable and circular criteria.
Indicators for a Circular Economy
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.
Circular Economy: what we WANT to know and CAN measure
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.
Organising for the Circular Economy - A Workbook for Developing Circular Business Models.
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 Disruptive Innovation Festival (DIF) is an online platform which aims to shift mindsets and inspire action towards a circular economy. The yearly digital conference, organised by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, invites people to share disruptive ideas and stories on a number of topics and attracts a worldwide audience, sparking critical conversations and participation through a combination of live interviews, films, and podcasts.
Impacts of circular economy policies on the labour market
How does a transition to a more circular economy affect jobs and skills demand in Europe?
This report looked at trends of circular economy activities across different sectors and quantified these activities as modelling inputs to provide employment changes for different sectors. The analysis also provides estimates of the occupational shifts and skills requirements that a shift to a more circular economy could entail.
The aim of this report is to develop an understanding of how a transition towards a more circular and resource efficient economy in Europe will affect labour markets across the Member States. Our analysis is the most comprehensive quantification of the EU jobs impacts from the circular economy to date. By using a fully integrated energy-environment-economy model (E3ME), our analysis considers both direct job losses and job creations that result from a shift to a more circular economy. It also captures indirect, induced and rebound impacts from interactions between sectors, Member States, and between economic, environment, material, energy and labour market indicators.
Our findings suggest that the EU is on the right track by making the circular economy a policy priority as circular economy policies will contribute to reducing negative environmental impacts, while simultaneously contributing to higher employment levels. By moving towards a more circular economy, GDP in the EU increases by almost 0.5% by 2030 compared to the baseline case. The net increase in jobs is approximately 700,000 compared to the baseline through additional labour demand from recycling plants, repair services and rebounds in consumer demand from savings generated through collaborative actions Although the magnitude of job creation is driven by our assumption of the rate of circular economy uptake in the scenarios, our analysis confirms that it is possible to become more resource efficient and increase employment at the same time.
Financement de l’économie circulaire
Ce document est une synthèse des échanges qui ont eu lieu lors du séminaire « Financement de l’économie circulaire » organisé par le SPF Economie le 6 juin 2017 et réunissant les différents intervenants du secteur public et bancaire ainsi que des entrepreneurs de l’économie circulaire.
Il présente brièvement le concept de l’économie circulaire avant de développer les solutions de financement public et privé. Il souligne également les difficultés de financement auxquelles les entreprises et les banques sont confrontées.
Enfin, en comparant les initiatives belges en matière d’économie circulaire avec celles des pays voisins, ce document montre le rôle que la Belgique joue en Europe dans l’émergence de ce nouveau système économique. Différents points d’attention sont repris sous une rubrique « recommandations » à la fin du document.
Ook verkrijgbaar in het Nederlands.
Cyprus Circular Economy Platform
The “Cyprus Circular Economy Platform” aims to collect circular economy good practices and events from all stakeholders that can contribute to the transition to a circular economy across Cyprus. For industries, enterprises, local authorities, public bodies, associations, NGOs etc that have a good practice to demonstrate or an event to share, regarding the circular economy in Cyprus, this is the place to do it.
The Cyprus Circular Economy Platform was co-created by the European Commission Representation in Cyprus and the Cyprus Federation of Employers & Industrialists (OEB) and was registered as a partner for the 2018 EU Green Week.
ESPON - Possible European Territorial Futures - Vol. D - Place Based Circular Economy
What would the European territory look like in 2030, if Europe had completed a transition to a place based circular economy?
The fourth volume of the ' Possible European Territorial Futures' Final report, Volume D, focuses on the impact that a place based circular economy will have on territorial development in EU and provides background information and nuanced considerations concerning the territorial foresight for a place based circular economy. It is part of a larger ESPON study on territorial foresight, aiming to better understand the implications of either development trends or ideas for a wanted or unwanted future. Europe’s territorial structure under a place based circular economy will differ from the one we know today. This economy will imply dramatic changes for all parts of Europe and will also affect urbanisation and territorial balance. At a European level, the differences between strong socio-economic areas and the lagging regions may reduce under a place based circular economy. The study illustrates the potential for small and medium-sized towns, as well as the challenges for sparsely populated areas and inner-peripheries. It also highlights the importance of networks in driving innovations in a circular economy and leading areas in the sharing economy. Furthermore, the study shows areas which could expect particular transition challenges in consumer behaviour (including tourists) and changing manufacturing structures.
EREK - European Resource Efficiency Knowledge Centre
The European Resource Efficiency Knowledge Centre (EREK for short) is here to help European companies, especially SMEs, save energy, material and water costs. We provide tools, information and business opportunities that show you new and better ways to be resource efficient and benefit from circular economy business models which turn waste into an asset. EREK also supports national, regional and local organisations across Europe that work with SMEs to improve their environmental performance, helping them to become more resource efficient.
SMEs can get the following benefits thanks to EREK’s tools and services:
- Access to knowledge on best available technologies and business models
- Better control of energy, water and material costs
- Compliance checks for upcoming regulations
- Become less dependent on suppliers
- Demonstrate return on investment when adopting resource efficient measures Information on funding sources and technology providers
- Help building a green image which enables the targeting of new customer segments
EREK offers the following to SME intermediaries:
- Tools and instruments for businesses to assess their saving potentials
- Access to top international knowledge, technical expertise and practices on resource efficiency
- Capacity-building workshops and networking events Online training opportunities to learn from resource efficiency experts
- Overview of relevant support programmes available on European, national and regional levels
- Updates on professional events within the community
Concrete activities include:
- European Resource Efficiency Self-Assessment Tool for SMEs
- Catalogue of Resource Efficiency Improvement Measures
- European Resource Efficiency Information Database
- Online EREK platform
- Structured knowledge on resource efficiency best practices
- News, trends, and information on support programmes
- Database and managed European network of the national and regional organisation providing support to SMEs in resource efficiency measures
- Capacity-building and training workshops
- Knowledge resources, expertise and sharing
EREK is an initiative of the European Commission and is implemented by a consortium of organisations including Technopolis Group, VDI Zentrum Ressourceneffizienz (DE), WRAP (UK), Motiva (FI), Enviros (CZ), WAAT and Arctik (BE).
Five European Circular Hotspots signed an agreement at the Holland Circular Economy Week to continue and intensify cooperation, joining forces in accelerating the transition to a Circular Economy in Europe.
Join the authors of the 'Linear Risks' report at 15:00 CET to understand more about the risks of a linear economy and share your thoughts.
The Coordination Group of the European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform plays a key role in guiding the Platform's activities: reinforcing interaction between stakeholders, facilitating the exchange of good practices and fostering a European debate on how to transition to a circular economy.