The Flemish regional government is organising a conference to celebrate 25 years of Flemish foreign economy. This conference will look at what lies ahead in the field of foreign affairs and analyse the added value of international cooperation in many policy areas, especially those with a significant, and sometimes even disruptive, impact on society, such as the transition to circular economy.
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On December 4, MEP Igor Šoltes will host a seminar on the inherent benefits of using public procurement to achieve sustainable development in the European Parliament.
Austria Glas Agenda 2030 - Future in Glass
Austria Glas Recycling Gmbh is setting the course for the future: the Austria Glas Agenda 2030, which it has developed together with stakeholders, experts and scholars, defines the orientation of the glass recycling system according to the sustainable development goals (SDGs).
The Austria Glass Agenda 2030 is pioneering work setting new impulses for the implementation of the SDGs. As one of the first companies in Austria, Austria Glas Recycling Gmbh is facing the challenge to implement the SDGs in all its business processes. The Austria Glas Agenda 2030 is the basis for future project developments of the glass recycling system.
In addition, the Austria Glas Agenda 2030 should serve as a role model for other sectors and inspire them to take action for the SDGs.
In October 2015 the Luxembourg government named the municipality of Wiltz a Circular Economy Hotspot. In February 2018 Wiltz renewed its political commitment with a Circular Economy Charter signed by its municipal council, by which it committed itself to mainstreaming circular economy in its future project and activities in order to improve its global footprint on the Ardennes region and to take on its responsibilities towards future generations of citizens.
The Climate Pact, which was set up by Luxembourg's Ministry of Sustainable Development and Infrastructure in order to enable municipalities wishing to actively tackle climate change to request State support by signing an engagement charter, now includes measures on circular economy.
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.
Beyond the Circular Economy package
Despite resource efficiency improving 41% between 2000 and 2016,with the Circular Economy Package and the initiatives set out in the accompanying Action Plan nearing completion, the EU institutions must acknowledge that the move to a more resource efficient or “circular” economy will take time. To invest in new business models, more resource-efficient processes and new supply chains for good quality secondary materials, businesses need the assurance that the resource efficiency agenda will remain a priority for the EU in the long term.
This briefing sets out a range of policy recommendations that the Aldersgate Group believe EU institutions should continue to pursue beyond completion of the Circular Economy Package to scale up business action on resource efficiency. These recommendations are based on business case studies, including some developed as part of the EU LIFE+ funded REBus project, which began in 2013 and on which the Aldersgate Group is a partner. By the end of 2016, pilots taking part in the REBus project (many of which involved SMEs), had already delivered a financial benefit of €5.62m, material savings in excess of 62,000 tonnes and a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions of just under 2,000 tonnes. These benefits have continued to grow since.
Recommendations based on the report's findings include:
- Pursuing work to include resource efficiency design criteria in product standards by delivering on the commitment to publish an updated Ecodesign Working Plan once a year and rapidly broadening the range of products subject to resource efficiency design criteria;
- Promote business innovation on resource efficiency, through continued financial support for business trials and broadening the sectors that receive technical support through the Commission’s Innovation Deals;
- Expand the use of circular economy criteria in the public procurement of a broadening range of products and encourage their application across EU Member States and EU institutions;
- Encourage Member States to develop pricing mechanisms that support material re-use where it is environmentally effective to do so; and
- Ensure a consistent implementation of the Circular Economy Package in different Member States. This is especially important in terms of the improved definitions of “waste” currently being negotiated by all three EU institutions, which must ensure that materials are no longer classified as “waste” when they can be re-used safely.
Circular Economy in Cities
The World Economic Forum’s Future of Urban Development and Services Initiative has released its new White Paper on the Circular Economy in Cities: evolving the model for a sustainable urban future.
This White Paper traces the conceptual underpinnings of the Circular Economy, and explains why cities are key to accelerating the transition away from the traditional ‘take-make-dispose’ model. It draws on examples from cities around the world in areas that include: channelling used building materials to new building sites, water harvesting and reuse, reducing energy use, electronic waste, healthcare and procurement. It explains the opportunities in the Circular Economy for all stakeholders and the ways in which they can work together at city level.
Regulatory barriers for the circular economy
This report, commissioned by DG GROW and prepard by Technopolis and Franhofer ISI, identified major obstacles of regulatory nature or gaps within the existing legal framework where significant unlocked opportunities remain. The study includes an in-depth analysis of the identified obstacles and possible solutions through specific cases.
The analysis of specific regulatory barriers includes the full product lifecycle and focuses on the interfaces between different steps of the value chain (extraction/production, production/production internal loops, production/use, collection, waste-management/recycling/production). Barriers can be categorised within these 3 themes:
- Several case studies identified regulatory barriers often related to lacking legislation that would allow the collection and pre-treatment of homogenous waste streams.
- The second type of barrier refers to legislation that hinders the use of recycled materials in production processes.
- The third type of barrier is related to the lack of concrete and enforceable product requirements.
The analysis also highlights a variety of different generic types of barriers: in many cases waste legislation focuses on quantities (weight based collection or recycling targets) and not so much on the qualities of recycled materials. Inconsistencies between existing regulations, e.g. related to REACH or End-of-Waste criteria, have also been mentioned in a variety of case studies.
The study concludes that in general, high-quality recycling is definitely not prevented by regulatory obstacles, but by lacking or unclear legislation. Prime examples are End-of-Waste criteria or quality standards for secondary raw materials that create legal uncertainties for the industry that make it rational to continue to focus on primary raw material input.
The circular economy and the bioeconomy — Partners in sustainability
'The circular economy and the bioeconomy — Partners in sustainability' is the third EEA report on the circular economy. It aims to support the framing, implementation and evaluation of European circular economy policy from an environmental perspective. It shows that the two policy agendas have similar objectives and areas of intervention, including food waste, biomass and bio-based products, and that they would benefit from stronger links, particularly in product and infrastructure design, and collaboration throughout the value chain.
The increasing demand for food, feed, biomaterials and bioenergy resources could worsen the over-exploitation of natural resources. By extending the lifetime of products and recycling materials, a circular, bio-economy approach can help retain material value and functionality for longer time as well as avoid unrecycled biowaste.
Promising innovations and strategies for circular biomass use include biorefinery, 3D printing with bioplastics, multi-purpose crops, better use of residues and food waste, and biowaste treatment. Consumers can also contribute by eating less animal-based protein, preventing food waste and separating biowaste from other waste streams.
Implementing the circular and bio-economy in tandem, by applying specific design principles within a systemic approach, would improve resource efficiency and reduce environmental pressures.
This high-level conference on Sustainability in Public Procurement provides an avenue for debate on what the EU and Member States can do to ensure a wider uptake of circular economy in strategic public procurement and serves as a forum to share best practices from selected industries.
ECOVATION 2018 is a two-day conference on innovation and Sustainability in Public Procurement organised by the Austrian Service Center for Public Procurement Promoting Innovation on behalf of the Federal Ministries for Digital and Economic Affairs; Transport, Innovation and Technology.
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.
The municipality of Almere aspires to become a waste-free and energy-neutral city by 2022. The administration wants to bring the business community and knowledge institutes’ innovative power together to enable co-creation in the field of waste management and upcycling in the urban context.
The Brussels-Capital Region covers an area of 161.38 sq km with a population of more than one million inhabitants. The circular economy is proving to be an innovative and sustainable way to address not only environmental but also social and economic challenges for the sustainable development of Europe's dynamic capital.
The EU Circular Economy Package and its implementation will be key issues during the Austrian Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the second half of 2018.
The Austrian Water and Waste Management Association (ÖWAV) the Austrian Federal Ministry of Sustainability and Tourism (BMNT) and Altstoff Recycling Austria AG (ARA) will host an international circular economy conference on September 20th in Vienna.
CEC4Europe played an important role in creating the programme.
Guide to Circular and Green Economy in the local world: How to get into action and tools for local entities
The "Guide to Circular and Green Economy in the local world" was published as part of the 2016-2019 Business and Green Economy Economy Plan for Local authorities promoted by the Network of Cities and Peoples towards Sustainability. This guide is based on the experience of its authors as well as municipalities participating in the Workshops organised as part of the same Plan collaboration of the Generalitat of Catalonia. The respective contributions of the Business and Green Economy Plan working group channel important challenges and successes in promoting the circular economy by local authorites throughout this document.
The aim of the guide is to disseminate the circular economy concept and provide acitonable suggestions to local authorities (politicians, civil servants) in order to promote circular economy at different levels of governance, where the scope is both mainstreaming within public administration as well as private sector buy-in.
The guide first presents the concept of circular economy, strategies for implementation and the local authorities can play in this transition. The second part presents the steps a local entity can follow to define a strategy to boost the circular and green economy in its area. The guide also includes a workbook that with tools and materials to put into practice such a strategy and facilitate the transition to a circular economy.
Birmingham is Britain’s youngest and fastest growing city, boasting the highest quality of life of any English city outside London. The city also has the strongest economy outside the capital and is one of the first cities to adopt a proactive industrial symbiosis approach to develop a medium and long-term strategy for sustainable economic development. Often described as ‘the circular economy in action’, the projects born from the industrial symbiosis approach are part of Birmingham’s circular economy strategy.
Our world is only 9.1% circular and creating a more prosperous world requires personal, political and business leadership. But what can you do to accelerate the transition towards a circular economy?
CEN Guidelines for integrated circular economy strategies at local and regional level
The present guidelines have been developed by ACR+ in the framework of its Circular Europe Network initiative (CEN: www.circular-europe-network.eu).
It aims at explaining the potential role of local and regional authorities, and at developing guidelines to help them draw up integrated and efficient circular economy plans. Even though acknowledging the broader concept, these guidelines focus mainly on materials, considering that it is difficult for local and regional authorities to encompass all topics at once and since material resources represent the core element of circular economy.
The guidelines clarify the circular economy concept from a local or regional authority's perspective (Part 1) and propose key steps and elements to include in a local or regional circular economy strategy (Part 2).
The present document should serve as a set of first guidelines in the subject, particularly for the members of the Circular Europe Network, and is intended to be completed with examples of best practices to set such strategies, as well as concrete cases of circular economy.
The document is also available in Catalan, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish. For more information, please click here.