Library

The library contains a wealth of information on the circular economy for use by policy makers and analysts conducting impact assessments. For more information on impact assessments and the EU's Better Regulation Agenda, please click here.

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    Circular economy in Europe: Developing the knowledge base

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Almut Reichel, Mieke De Schoenmakere, Jeroen Gillabel

    Source: 

    EEA

    Year: 

    2016

    This report seeks to help policy makers to better understand the circular economy, by focusing on four of its dimensions; the main enabling factors and transition challenges, indicators for measuring progress and contextual issues. One of the main conclusions regarding the monitoring of progress is that for now the focus is on developments in resource efficiency and waste management, which covers a part, but not the whole, of the circular economy. More data is needed on eco-design, the sharing economy, and repair and reuse. Furthermore, social indicators, industrial symbiosis indicators...

    Delivering the circular economy - a toolkit for policymakers

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Andrew Morlet et al.

    Source: 

    Ellen MacArthur Foundation

    Year: 

    2016

    This report wants to provide countries and their policy makers who are interested in a transition to the circular economy with a toolkit. To test this toolkit, a case study was performed for Denmark. It focused on opportunities in several sectors; food and beverage, construction and real estate, machinery, plastic packaging and hospitals. Eight important conclusions were drawn:

    • The transition to a circular economy can deliver the expected lasting benefits of a more innovative, resilient and productive economy.
    • The circular economy provides many opportunities that are...

    Growth within: A circular economy vision for a competitive Europe

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Ellen MacArthur et al.

    Source: 

    Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the McKinsey Center for Business and Environment (sponsered by Stiftungsfonds für Umweltökonomie)

    Year: 

    2015

    This report seeks to answer five questions:

    1. Is Europe’s current resource model effective?
    2. Will the technology revolution solve Europe’s resource issues?
    3. What would a circular economy in Europe look like?
    4. What economic outcomes could a circular model achieve in Europe?
    5. If Europe decided to shift towards a circular model, how could policy-makers and business leaders accelerate the transition?

    Three of Europe’s most resource-intensive basic needs are discussed; food, mobility and the built environment, all together comprising 60% of...

    A Circular Economy in the Netherlands by 2050

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment

    Source: 

    Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment

    Year: 

    2016

    This program explores the challenges and possibilities for realizing a circular economy by 2050 in the Netherlands. Both current and follow-up steps are identified for this purpose. The following barriers for the transition to a circular economy are mentioned: regulations, the non-internalisation of external effects, the lack of knowledge for technical, social and system innovation, non-circular behaviour of citizens and professionals, adaptation problems in the production chain, consolidated investments and interests, limited influence in the international playing field. The Dutch...

    Advancing Resource Efficiency in Europe: Indicators and waste policy scenarios to deliver a resource efficient and sustainable Europe

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Dr. Jane Beasley, Ray Georgeson

    Source: 

    European Environmental Bureau

    Year: 

    2014

    The EEB’s report utilized a baseline scenario created by projections related to existing waste policy. They expanded upon this baseline by proposing policy adjustments in the form of new formulations and altered target setting, which they conclude could result in substantial positive environmental, social, and economic impacts. The report also emphasizes a strong belief in the success of in-creased regulatory policy moving forward.

    Regulatory barriers for the Circular Economy: Lessons from ten case studies

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Joost van Barneveld et al.

    Source: 

    Technopolis Group, Fraunhofer ISI, thinkstep, Wuppertal Institute

    Year: 

    2016

    This report takes a look at several circular economy practices and identifies regulatory barriers that obstruct their full potential. Subsequently, recommendations are provided on how to overcome these barriers.

    Environmental sustainability assessment of bioeconomy value chains

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Jorge Cristóbol et al.

    Source: 

    European Commission, JRC, IES

    Year: 

    2016

    "The objectives of this work were: (1) to map and analyse accessible LCA data related to bioeconomy value chains in order to identify knowledge gaps; (2) provide a more robust and complete picture of the environmental performance of three bioeconomy value chains (i.e. one per each bioeconomy pillar). This analysis reveals that apart from few products (such as liquid biofuels, some biopolymers and food crops) the environmental assessment of bioeconomy value chains is still incipient and limited to few indicators (e.g. Global Warming Potential and energy efficiency). In this study, a...

    Resource Efficiency: Potential and Economic Implications

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Paul Ekins, Nick Hughes et al.

    Source: 

    International Resource Panel

    Year: 

    2017

    "This report examines the potential for increasing resource efficiency in industrialized countries, including the G7, emerging economies and developing countries. It focuses on the use of natural resources and the environment, including energy, land, water, raw materials: biotic and abiotic, marine and freshwater, oceanic and terrestrial. The evidence base includes the recent and ongoing work of the International Resource Panel, as well as that of a number of international organizations that have addressed this issue. The report also seeks to identify transboundary effects and discusses...

    Food losses and waste in the context of sustainable food systems

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    The High Level Panel Experts on Food Security and Nutrition

    Source: 

    Year: 

    2014

    "The issue of global food losses and waste has recently received much attention and has been given high visibility. According to FAO, almost one-third of food produced for human consumption – approximately 1.3 billion tonnes per year – is either lost or wasted globally: their reduction is now presented as essential to improve food security and to reduce the environmental footprint of food systems. In this context, the Committee on World Food Security (CFS), in its Thirty-ninth Session (October 2012) requested the High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE) to...

    Towards the Circular Economy Vol. 2: opportunities for the consumer goods sector

    Type of evidence: 

    Source: 

    Ellen MacArthur Foundation

    Year: 

    2013

    "The report focuses on fast-moving consumer goods, which currently accounts for about 60 per cent of total consumer spending, 35 per cent of material inputs into the economy, and 75 per cent of municipal waste. Importantly, the consumer goods sector absorbs more than 90 per cent of our agricultural output - possibly our most embattled resource in the future." (https://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/publications/towards-the-circul...)

    Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe

    Type of evidence: 

    Source: 

    European Commission

    Year: 

    2011

    Construction accounts for 50% of all extracted material use in the EU. The European Commission calls for a further strengthening of resource efficiency in buildings and construction by considering the lifetime costs of a building rather than just the initial costs and also better infrastructure planning. They have set the 2020 milestone to have the majority of rennovation and constuction standards to be of high efficiency standards.

    Resource efficiency in practice - Closing mineral cycles

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Marion Sarteel et al.

    Year: 

    2016

    "The issue of closing mineral cycles was analyzed in eight European regions and the results are presented in the report "Resource Efficiency in Practice – Closing Mineral Cycles". The authors of BIO IS, Ecologic Institute, AMEC, Danish Technical University, University of Milano and LEI, identified measures that support the closing of mineral cycles within the study regions. For each region, practical and strategic options to reduce the nutrient surplus further were derived." (http://ecologic.eu/14069)

    Cascading use of biomass: opportunities and obstacles in EU policies

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Sini Eräjää

    Source: 

    BirdLife and European Environmental Bureau

    Year: 

    2015

    BirdLife Europe has been intensively working to highlight the environmental risks of using crops grown on agricultural land for fuel instead of food, resulting in significant emissions from indirect land use change (ILUC). This work resulted in the EU to limit the use of food based biofuels in the transport sector.  

    Bioenergy and europes quest for a circular economy

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Lisa Benedetti

    Source: 

    Eubioenergy

    Year: 

    2015

    "Europe is on the move to become a ‘circular economy’ which is more competitive and resource efficient. The goal is a more circular flow of materials and energy so that Europeans use and consume in a way that creates minimal waste and puts less pressure on natural resources on this continent and other parts of the world. Sounds like a common sense plan…right? Yes, but one important question arises. Why isn’t the Commission including different types of biomass (biological material) as part of the circular economy equation?" (...

    Ensuring bioenergy comes clean in the Clean Energy Package

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Sini Eräjää, Hanna Aho, Laura Buffet

    Source: 

    BirdLife Europe, Fern, Transport & Environment

    Year: 

    2017

    "European climate and energy policies are built on the myth that all bioenergy - being a renewable energy source - is good for the climate and good for the environment. As the use of bioenergy in the EU is expected to more than double by 2020 compared to 2005, it's becoming clear that bioenergy is not the clean dream we all hoped it would be. In some cases it can even increase CO2 emissions (compared to fossil fuels) and in numerous instances it threatens nature by putting additional pressure on already burdened agricultural land and forests. As the demand for bioenergy grows (pushed by...

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