On March 19, GLOBE EU and the Center for European Policy Studies (CEPS) organised a conference to look back on what the 2014 - 2019 EU mandate has achieved for the circular economy and present GLOBE EU’s recommendations with priorities for the next European Commission.
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In this policy note, the City of the Hague outlines why a circular transition is necessary and what benefits it can provide to the city for its sustainable development. Continuing with a state-of-play, the note sketches out the policy framework at European, national and regional level to provide strategic context and introduce analysis of a non-exhaustive list of 143 ongoing circular projects in The Hague area. Links to further research show that making use of the opportunities a circular economy provides in the Construction, Procurement and Retail Trade sectors alone could substantially reduce carbon emissions and deliver 3,500 jobs in The Hague area.
Building on this research, the policy note indicates the city's priorities best lie in biomass, construction material and critical raw materials. To showcase possible next steps, the note provides a list of easily implementable projects and policies in these priority areas, while concluding with a stakeholder engagement strategy that should enable the city's administration to realise its goals for the priority sectors.
The Centro de Documentación Europea de la Universidad Francisco de Vitoria (European Documentation Centre, UFV) has completed a project titled Economía Circular y Empleabilidad de los Jóvenes en la Comunidad de Madrid (Circular Economy and Employability of Young People in the Autonomous Region of Madrid).
The outcomes include a report on communicating the circular economy through the lens of employment opportunities circular business models provide for young people. The project has also created a guide on communicating the circular economy to students, which introduces the subject, presents the 7R model and shows how innovative companies provide opportunities for employment in circular business.
The publication presents a state-of-play for Slovakia's circular economy transition and introduces its circular economy policies. It also contains interviews with representatives of the Slovak State administration, NGO representatives and scientists, as well as examples of good practices from municipalities, businesses, and NGOs.
The European Recycling Industries’ Confederation will hold its annual conference, entitled Implementing Circular Value Chains, in Brussels on 13 March 2019.
The conference Fast-tracking a Circular Economy in the EU will take stock of actions aimed at advancing towards a circular economy.
The African Circular Economy Network (ACEN) is a registered Non-Profit Organisation in South Africa (195-590 NPO).
Its vision is to build a restorative African economy that generates well-being and prosperity inclusive of all its people, through new forms of economic production and consumption which maintain and regenerate its environmental resources.
The research activities of the ACEN will investigate issues, document findings relevant for the African context and its needs. Researchers will be drawn from ACEN members, academics and other stakeholder partners across Africa, but also Europe, Asia or America, where needed.
Training and Awareness
The priority of ACEN is to raise awareness and undertake training amongst key sectors of the African economy: public (government, educational institutions), private (corporates & SMEs), and civil society (non-governmental organisations) to promote the concept, benefits, principles and practice of the Circular Economy.
Networking and Events
ACEN believes that solutions to current challenges require inter-disciplinary skills, multiple stakeholder involvement and regional, African as well as international partnerships. It therefore aims to create platforms where specialists can collaborate to exchange ideas, experiences and solutions. ACEN has hosted several stakeholder engagements to date to enable a global reach. Members from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (UK), Pavia University (Italy), the South African/European Union Partnership (South Africa), the World Economic Forum (Switzerland) and Green Alliance (UK), to name a few, have joined the discussion.
ACEN currently disseminates and shares knowledge about the circular economy through LinkedIn and Facebook, and in the future, will also use other online channels to develop a strong base of knowledge and information and extend its reach throughout South Africa and Africa.
The network is active in over 24 countries. In 2017 it co-organised the first Circular Economy Conference in Africa with the European Union and the South African Government (World Economic Forum Africa, Durban). It is engaged with the EU to discuss approaches on ways to be inspired by the African continent and enable more circular strategies (less negative impact), and with training, research and knowledge sharing with corporate and universities.
On 7 March the European Commission will host a workshop to inform stakeholders about the product environmental footprint, its development and possible contribution to a Single Market for Green Products.
The European Commission is conducting a stakeholder consultation on the EU Ecolabel to gather views and identify opportunities to increase uptake of this voluntary ecolabelling scheme.
The report provides a simple, yet rich overview of the barriers and enablers of circular economy business models as identifed by stakeholders, drawing upon a range of interviews, workshops and events, and a survey conducted with representatives of the European business sector.
Within businesses, stakeholders have identified high-level commitment accompanied by long-term perspectives, the personal drive and attitudes of staff, as well as the promise of enhanced competitiveness as key in supporting the transition towards circularity. Yet, from an internal company perspective, a number of factors were highlighted as getting in the way of the transition. Difficulties in financing new business models, taxation systems, resistance to change and the perceived lack of consumer demand are key examples of obstacles that hamper the circular transformation.
Importantly, stakeholders have provided interesting insights into possible solutions and recommendations able to overcome the challenges posed by circular economy barriers: tax incentives, the development of wealth-measurement systems other than GDP, material passports and quality standards, to name a few. Future solutions should also focus on ensuring safe areas for innovation out of tendering calls, green public procurement and increased financial support.
The EU Circular Economy Package pushes forward the concepts of ‘recycle, repair and re-use’, as well as waste avoidance. To comply with the Package many EU countries will need a completely new waste treatment system, and many companies will need to re-think some established business models.
Two years after adopting the Circular Economy Package, the EU institutions have finally agreed on a new EU waste regulation. The paper entitled Two years later: the EU Circular Economy Package evaluates recent EU policy moves and decisions. It also analyses the status quo of Germany's circular economy efforts and compares them to those of other EU member states. Finally, some of the risks and opportunities for companies are outlined.
This paper is an update of a previously published policy paper by Dr. Adriana Neligan (2016), which discussed the Package after it was presented in late 2016.
Two years after adopting the Circular Economy Package, the EU institutions have finally agreed on new EU waste rules. Despite lower recycling targets as originally envisaged, most countries still have to push recycling to meet the goals. A single method of determining recycling rates was also decided, but an exemption will continue to allow for disparate recycling rates.
Recycling has become increasingly important in Europe: EU recycling rates increased from 32 to 46 per cent between 2005 and 2016. Yet, more progress is needed to reach the targets.
The ECO.NOMIA portal, created in 2016, is one of the components of the Portuguese Action Plan for Circular Economy (2017), adopting the role of a knowledge-sharing space. It is a one-stop-shop for all things circular, in Portuguese, aimed at citizens, companies and investors. Not only does it explain the principles, advantages and opportunities of the circular economy, it also provides examples and information on financing, learning opportunities and national and international events.
The paper aims to outline the new role financiers have to play to accelerate the transition towards a circular economy. How can they change their own operations to better align with those of circular entrepreneurs? How should they judge the risks and opportunities that are presented by circular business models? What new dangers and securities do these new business models bring? What role can they play in this new economy?
This guide will help financiers thrive in the circular economy through 6 practical guidelines:
- Assess Different Securities
- Emphasise Relationship-based Financing
- Value Natural Capital Gains
- Become a Knowledge Partner
- Have a Long-term Vision
- Become a Financial Chain Director
The system shift to the circular economy fundamentally changes the role of both the entrepreneur as well as the financier. In order to overcome this change, entrepreneurs and financiers need to find each other in this new economy.
Although the opportunities for investing in circular business models are widely available, current investment methods do not match the needs of these particular businesses. To finance these business models, both companies as well as the financial sector need to adapt. Businesses need to create an attractive business model for financiers, and financiers need to change the way they perceive the risks and opportunities associated with these models.
To help businesses position themselves in a circular context and develop future strategies for doing business in a circular economy, Sustainable Finance Lab, Circle Economy, Nuovalente, TUDelft, and het Groene Brein got together to create the Value Hill.
The Value Hill proposes a categorisation based on the lifecycle phases of a product: pre-, in- and post-use. This allows businesses to position themselves on the Value Hill and understand potential circular strategies they can implement as well as identify missing partners in their circular network. The Value Hill provides an overview of the circular partners and collaboration essential to the success of a circular value network.
When deciding on which circular strategies to implement, the financeability of a business is also affected. For example, product-service combinations are seen as a promising, future earning model, but they currently encounter considerable funding challenges such as securing stable cash flows, reducing risks and matching investments with payback periods. Additionally, evolving business strategies, including changing value propositions and chain collaborations, should be topics on the agenda. Enabling the transition towards these new business models is key to successfully implementing circular business strategies and future proofing our economy.
In order to better understand how these challenges could be addressed, Circle Economy and the Sustainable Finance Lab worked with circular business managers and financiers to identify ways to fund circular business strategies, a key element they desperately need to achieve. Building on this research the authors outline the following 10 Steps to Financeability in this report:
- Decide on a logical starting point
- Generate profit through multiple use cycles
- Align incentives throughout the supply chain
- Be transparent about the value proposition
- Redefine the role of retail
- Gradually transition to product-service systems by combining revenue models
- Secure stable cash flows through a robust contract
- Mitigate debtor risk
- Match asset value, payback period and contract duration
- Measure environmental impact on financial performance.
Registration is now open for the 2019 Circular Economy Stakeholder Conference: Success Stories and New Challenges, to be held March 6 and 7 in Brussels. Apply until January 31st to attend this conference, grow your network of circular partners and participate in taking stock of the Circular Economy Action Plan’s achievements while setting the ground for new horizons in the circular economy.
The Circularity Gap Report 2019 finds that the global economy is only 9% circular - just 9% of the 92.8 billion tonnes of minerals, fossil fuels, metals and biomass that enter the economy are re-used annually. Climate change and material use are closely linked. Circle Economy calculates that 62% of global greenhouse gas emissions (excluding those from land use and forestry) are released during the extraction, processing and manufacturing of goods to serve society’s needs; only 38% are emitted in the delivery and use of products and services.
It highlights the vast scope to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by applying circular principles - re-use, re-manufacturing and re-cycling - to key sectors such as the built environment. Yet it notes that most governments barely consider circular economy measures in policies aimed at meeting the UN target of limiting global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
This report thus highlights three key circular strategies which could be adapted throughout the economy to help limit global warming and gives examples:
- Optimising the utility of products by maximising their use and extending their lifetime. Ridesharing and carsharing already make it less important to own a car. Autonomous driving will accelerate this trend, potentially increasing the usage of each vehicle by a factor of eight. At the same time electric powertrains, intelligent maintenance programmes and software integration can enhance the lifetime of cars.
- Enhanced recycling, using waste as a resource. By 2050 there will be an estimated 78 million tonnes of decommissioned solar panels. Modular design would enable products to be easily disassembled, components to be re-used and valuable materials to be recovered to extend their economic value and reduce waste.
- Circular design, reducing material consumption and using lower-carbon alternatives. Bamboo, wood and other natural materials have the potential to reduce dependence on carbon-intensive materials such as cement and metals in construction. Instead of emitting carbon, these materials store it and will last for decades. They can be burnt to generate energy at the end of their life.
The report also provides recommendations for governments: while The Netherlands has set itself a target of becoming 50% circular by 2030 and 100% by 2050, most governments have yet to wake up to the potential of the circular economy. The report recommends joining up climate change and circular economy strategies to achieve maximum impact, through the use of tax and spending plans to drive change. They should:
- Abolish financial incentives which encourage overuse of natural resources, such as subsidies for fossil fuel exploration, extraction and consumption;
- Raise taxes on emissions, excessive resource extraction and waste production, for example by implementing a gradually increasing carbon tax;
- Lower taxes on labour, knowledge and innovation and invest in these areas. Lower labour taxes will encourage labour-intensive parts of a circular economy such as take-back schemes and recycling.
On 22 January 2019, Circle Economy launched the second annual Circularity Gap Report in Davos during the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting.
The Italian Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform (ICESP) is the mirror initiative launched at national level by the National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (ENEA) - the only Italian member of the ECESP's Coordination Group.
The ICESP is a "network of networks" bringing together circular economy initiatives, experiences, critical issues and perspectives from Italy which can be represented at European level. Its objective is to promote the Italian way for circular economy at national and international level, through the involvement of Italian stakeholders.
The ICESP acts through six working groups: 1) Research and eco-innovation, 2) Policy and governance, 3) Measuring the circular economy, 4) Sustainable and circular design, production, distribution and consumption, 5) Cities and territory, 6) Good practices.
Scientific journal Nature addresses setting up an international platform to share data and experiences, and coordinating industrial policies and trade to conserve resources and energy.