The newly published Circular Cities Declaration (CCD) report highlights the steps cities across Europe are taking to support the transition to a circular economy.
Throughout 2022, CCD signatories submitted individual reports sharing their “key activities and interventions” in the circular economy and the challenges they have experienced. In total 40 reports were submitted, covering activities from 2021 and 2022.
ICLEI Europe, with support from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, analysed these submissions, which led to the CCD report.
Commenting on the report, Simon Clement, coordinator for the Circular Economy at ICLEI Europe, said: “The CCD aims to have 150 signatories by the end of 2025. This would give a further boost to the circular economy in Europe and send a clear signal that there is a viable alternative to the linear economy.”
The CCD aims to have 150 signatories by the end of 2025.
The two organisations say this is the “widest ever assessment” of circular economy practices across European cities. The report identified eight key trends for how circularity is implemented in Europe’s urban areas, as well as the four main barriers hindering a circular economy.
20 of the 40 cities discussed in the report have circular economy strategies in place or development. The report also states that there is a lot of potential to accelerate the circular transition.
The report highlights that the “circular transition is happening across all of Europe” in big and small cities and across different sectors. For example, Leuven, Belgium, is setting up digital platforms to support repair services, La Spezia, Italy, requires the reuse of existing structures in construction and Helsinki, Finland, enables food redistribution to make local food systems more regenerative.
However, the report also says progress towards making cities circular is not as fast as it could be due to a lack of skills and knowledge. It also states a lack of finance options is holding back the pace of the transition to a circular economy.
Our cities are uniquely positioned to drive the transition to a circular economy.
Sarah O’ Carroll, Cities Lead at Ellen Macarthur Foundation, commented: “Our cities are uniquely positioned to drive the transition to a circular economy. Though they’re resource and energy intensive, they’re also innovative, interconnected, and home to concentrations of capital, data, and talent.
“Embedding circular economy principles in cities can result in meaningful change locally, and drive transformation across a nation. This report highlights the growing will, of cities of all sizes, to transition to a circular economy.
“While progress is not as fast as it could be, due to a lack of skills, knowledge, and finance, it’s inspiring to see many systemic circular solutions already underway at city level.”