Financing the circular economy

The European Union is providing several funding programmes in order to support the transition to a circular economy, such as the European Structural and Investment Funds, Horizon 2020 and the LIFE programme.

See below for an overview of funding programmes at EU level
Overview of funding opportunities at Member States level

In addition, the European Investment Bank (EIB) is providing finance and advice for circular economy projects through the InvestEU Advisory Hub.

Overview of the role of EIB in supporting the circular economy

Likewise, recognition of opportunities offered by circular economy businesses creating healthy portfolio to institutions and contributing to the transition towards a circular and climate-neutral economy are increasingly attractive to the private sector.

Supporting the transition to a circular economy requires – among other things – redirecting capital flows towards sustainable investment. For the private sector, this means integrating environmental, social and governance factors into the investment decision-making process on top of economic ones. It also requires mobilising available public funding sources to make sure circular projects, whatever their technical readiness level, get the resources they need to unlock scalable solutions.

EU funding programmes and financing support

Horizon Europe 
Horizon Europe is the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme ever with a budget of €95.5 billion. The research and innovation funding programme runs until 2027.

How to apply for Horizon Europe funding
Open and forthcoming Horizon Europe grants and tenders

Regional policy support for the circular economy 
These investments can contribute to: more recycling, improved waste management, resource and energy efficiency, strengthening the bio-economy, novel solutions in product design, new business models and the creation of green jobs.

New cohesion policy
2021-2027 Technical Seminars
Regional policy funding

LIFE programme
The LIFE programme is the EU’s funding instrument for the environment and climate action created in 1992. The current funding period 2021-2027 has a budget of €5.4 billion.

LIFE Programme has four sub-programmes:

Nature and biodiversity
Circular economy and quality of life
Climate change mitigation and adaptation
Clean energy transition

Examples of circular economy projects funded with LIFE:

  • CIRCWASTE-Finland, aiming at implementing the Finnish National Waste Plan (NWP), will address bottlenecks to achieving national and EU targets in waste management, and help with 2016-2023 planning for resource efficiency and circular economy.
  • REPURPOSE Life Project promotes a culture of reuse in five housing estates in London, by supporting local social enterprises to create reuse hubs in redundant spaces in the heart of the estates.

Single Market Programme (SMP)

The Single Market is the beating heart of the EU

It is the largest market in the world, where people, goods, services and money can move almost as freely as within a single country. EU citizens can travel, study, work and fall in love across borders. Consumers can buy safe products on the market and enjoy a high level of food safety. For the long-term EU budget 2021-2027, the Commission proposes a dedicated €4.2 billion programme to empower and protect consumers and enable Europe’s many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to thrive.

The objectives of the SMP are to

  • Maintain a high level of food safety;
  • Give even higher protection to consumers;
  • Boost the competitiveness of businesses, in particular SMEs;
  • Improve the governance of the Single Market and compliance with rules;
  • Produce and disseminate high-quality statistics;
  • Develop effective European standards.

General information on SMP

Single Market Programme Factsheet
Opening for calls of proposals can be consulted here

Global partnership: SWITCH Regional Programmes

The 'Switch to Green' flagship initiative, built upon the EU Switch regional programmes, brings focus on inclusive green economy for EU and partners.