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The three-day event Buildings As Material Banks – a pathway for a circular future (BAMB-CIRCPATH), to be held in Brussels on 5-7 February 2019, will focus on circular economy in the building/construction sector.
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.
Panel discussions around tools and methodologies to assess the impact of marine litter and to address the issue of circular economy and sustainable tourism in islands.
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.
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 City Governance: An explorative research study into current barriers and governance practices in circular city transitions across Europe
Circular City Governance
Circular City Governance - An explorative research study presents the results of an empirical research study into current barriers and governance practices in circular city transitions across Europe carried out by a team from the Radboud University Nijmegen School of Management (NL). The research activities ran from October to December 2017. The main objective of the study was to support the European Investment Bank (EIB) and other members of the Urban Agenda Partnership on Circular Economy involved in the working group on “Circular City Governance” (CCG) with the identification, analysis and elaboration of actions in support of Circular Governance in Cities, particularly through better knowledge and better funding. At the time this report was completed, the UAPCE’s Action Plan had been recently published for public consultation.
The research study follows an empirical approach primarily focussed on the identification of (i) the most common barriers and challenges that are encountered by cities seeking to promote the circular economy, and (ii) the most important governance interventions cities have taken to initiate and advance in the transition to a circular city. This information was drawn from the analysis of selected case studies of circular economy projects in urban environments, various publicly available circular economy strategies, plans prepared by cities and interviews with experts and officials of front-runner cities that have embraced the CE agenda across Europe. The results of this research study should contribute towarads improving the general knowledge basis on the promotion of the CE in cities by presenting the experiences and main lessons learnt by cities at the forefront of the CE agenda.
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.
The emerging bioeconomy is moving from a research niche to market norm and Europe needs to maintain its current global leadership. The update of the EU Bioeconomy Strategy is a major European Commission wide policy initiative which will be presented and discussed during the Bioeconomy Conference on October 22, in Brussels.
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!
EEB Member Ecocity organises the first ever ‘Ecocity Forum‘ in Thessaloniki, Greece. The aim of this 3 day conference is to raise awareness about the role that the circular economy can play in building the cities of tomorrow.
The event is funded by the Greek government and will gather academics, representatives from business, NGOs and public authorities from across Europe to debate the various aspects of what a circular economy involves.
The National Congress on the Environment (Conama) which will be held for the 114th time in the Palacio Municipal de Congresos de Madrid from 26-29 November. This conference is the benchmark for dialogue on environmental policy and innovation in Spain. The 4-day event expects to host a whole series of activities, conferences, financing workshops, stands and networking spaces for thousands of attendees ranging from company representatives, civil society organisations, scientists, ecologists, politicians, institutions to entrepreneurs.
Scotland has been selected as this year's host nation for Circular Economy Hotspot. Zero Waste Scotland plans to host #CEHotspotScot as a major international event and trade mission to showcase Scotland's progressive approach to developing a circular economy and the best of our burgeoning circular businesses to a global audience.
The unmissable programme will include visits to pioneering Scottish businesses, sessions led by the country's foremost names in circular economy policy and innovation, and extensive networking opportunities.
With more than 1.000 participants over two days, the Congress for resource efficiency and the circular economy is one of the leading conferences on the topic in Germany. In 19 hours 90 different speakers provide input in keynotes and around 15 workshops. Additionally, there is an exhibition part with stands of involved stakeholders.
The Umweltbundesamt will host the 4th European Resources Forum in Berlin from 27 to 28 November 2018. The ERF is a platform for discussion on the issue of sustainable resource use by focusing on the political and scientific debate on this subject and seeks to contribute to the development and implementation of common positions for policy-making in Europe and internationally.
The European Bioeconomy Congress Lodz 2018 will be held on September 24th, 2018, in Lodz, Poland to support the development of a bioeconomy in the Central and Eastern European Bioregions.
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.
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.
Luxembourg's National Waste and Resource Management Plan
Luxembourg's new National Waste and Resource Management Plan includes measures and guidelines for the implementation of the amended Waste Management Act of March 21, 2012. It analyzes the situation regarding waste management and lists measures that will be taken to ensure the re-use, recycling, recovery and disposal of waste in the most environmentally friendly conditions while remaining in line with the national and European legislative context. The prevention program is integrated in the text of the national plan and introduces a whole-system approach for waste prevention.
The overall objective of the NWRMP is to protect the environment, cultural property and human health by preventing and reducing the harmful effects of waste. In addition, waste management has long-term goals, including conservation of resources, climate protection and impacts for future generations.
This plan represents a considerable step in the transition towards a circular economy, and builds on the principles of a sober and responsible consumption of natural resources, the optimisation of product life cycles, opportunities for re-use or failing that, waste recycling.
The NWRMP, among others, includes the following ambitious targets for 2022:
- reducing food waste by 50%;
- 65% collection rate of electric and electronic waste;
- less than 10% of all municipal waste going to landfill.
The plan was also drafted in consultation with stakeholders and citizens over a 3-year period. This included thematic workshops on municipal waste, food waste, construction & demolition waste and treatment plant waste. The plan also received input through the May 2017 'National Waste Day' and further public consultations in Spring 2018. Its implementation willl be overseen by the Ministry for Sustainable Development and Infrastructure's environmental agency for the period 2018 - 2022.
Breaking the Barriers to the Circular Economy
The Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Utrecht University, the Netherlands and Deloitte have jointly carried out research on barriers to the Circular Economy (CE) in the European Union. For this research, a survey with 153 businesses, 55 government officials and expert interviews with forty-seven thought leaders on the circular economy from businesses, governments, academia and NGOs have been carried out. Two types of barriers emerged as main barriers.
Firstly, there are the cultural barriers of lacking consumer interest and awareness as well as a hesitant company culture. This finding is at odds with claims that the circular economy concept is hyped; rather, the concept may be a niche discussion among sustainable development professionals.
Secondly, market barriers emerged as a core category of barriers, particularly low virgin material prices and high upfront investments costs for circular business models.
Government intervention might be needed to overcome the market barriers which then may also help to overcome cultural barriers. Cultural barriers do also need to be overcome by circular start-ups. And, even though there is still no circular startup that has made global headlines, this may change soon.