The transition to a circular economy could be seen as a “threat” by some stakeholders, according to the findings of a European Environment Agency (EEA) report.
The report Circular economy in Europe – Developing the knowledge base report draws attention to both the benefits and challenges of such an economic transition and describes possible ways to measure progress, as well as highlighting the areas where more attention is required from research and policy in order to turn the concept into reality.
Among the findings of the report, the EEA says that frictions between the existing linear system and the new approaches are bound to arise. It says these may be perceived as threats by some stakeholders, but as opportunities by others.
EEA Executive Director Hans Bruyninckx – “The concept of a circular economy has recently gained traction in European policy making as a positive, solutions-based perspective for achieving economic development while respecting environmental limits”
“The concept of a circular economy has recently gained traction in European policy making as a positive, solutions-based perspective for achieving economic development while respecting environmental limits. The EEA is prepared to support the transition to a circular economy through analysis and assessments,” said EEA Executive Director Hans Bruyninckx.
The benefits of a transition towards a circular economy in Europe could be considerable, the report says, reducing environmental pressures in Europe and beyond and minimising the continent’s high and increasing dependence on imports.
Increasingly, this dependence could be a source of vulnerability. Growing global competition for natural resources has contributed to marked increases in price levels and volatility.
Circular economy strategies could also result in considerable cost savings, increasing the competitiveness of Europe’s industry while delivering net benefits in terms of job opportunities.
Good practice examples exist, the EEA says. For instance, businesses are already employing or experimenting with new business models such as service- and function-based business models and collaborative consumption. Governments increasingly foster waste prevention, reuse and repair.
A transition requires a substantial expansion of the knowledge base to chart progress and identify where more work is needed to achieve change. Some indicators exist already.
For example, Europe is reducing the amount of waste generated and recycles more and more of its waste.
But more information is needed to inform decision making and combine thinking about environmental, social and economic impacts. Better insight is needed in production structures and functions, consumption dynamics, finance and fiscal mechanisms, as well as triggers and pathways for technological and social innovations.
The CIWM Resource Conference Cymru will be exploring the new EU circular economy package. With a focus on clarifying the package and targets, exploring what these mean in practical terms and revealing real-life solutions and best practice, hear first-hand from EU speakers and join in the discussions with professionals from across the industry. For more information and to book your place click here.