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...

    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.

    Circular Advantage: Innovative Business Models and Technologies to Create Value in a World without Limits to Growth

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Accenture

    Source: 

    Accenture

    Year: 

    2014

    This report mainly focuses on the question what companies can do to become more circular, and why it is in their best interest to do so. To this end, it among others discusses several business models, disruptive technologies and capabilities.

    Opportunities for a circular economy in the Netherlands

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Ton Bastein, Elsbeth Roelofs, Elmer Rietveld, Alwin Hoogendoorn

    Source: 

    TNO

    Year: 

    2013

    "This report analyses the opportunities and obstacles that will present themselves as the Netherlands moves towards a more circular economy. It proposes a number of actions that can be taken, particularly by the government, to accelerate this process." (https://www.government.nl/documents/reports/2013/10/04/opportunities-for...)

    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...

    Assessment of resource efficiency indicators and targets

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Shailendra Mudgal, Adrian Tan, Sarah Lockwood, Nina Eisenmenger, Marina Fischer-Kowalski, Stefan Giljum, Martin Brucker

    Year: 

    2012

    "This study investigates how indicators and targets of resource use can be applied in policy to increase resource efficiency in the EU. The objective of this study is to identify and assess indicators related to resource use and their environmental impacts and to evaluate the possibility of setting corresponding targets. Ultimately, the study aims to present recommendations for the implementation of indicators and targets in the EU policy context." (p. 19)

    Towards the Circular Economy Vol. 1: an economic and business rationale for an accelerated transition

    Type of evidence: 

    Source: 

    Ellen MacArthur Foundation

    Year: 

    2012

    "Using product case studies and economic-wide analysis, this report details the potential for significant benefits across the EU. It argues that a subset of the EU manufacturing sector could realise net materials cost savings worth up to $ 630 billion p.a. towards 2025 - stimulating economic activity in areas of product development, remanufacturing and refurbishment." (https://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/publications/...

    Towards the Circular Economy Vol. 3: Accelerating the scale-up across global supply chains

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    World Economic Forum, Ellen MacArthur Foundation, McKinsey & Company

    Source: 

    Ellen MacArthur Foundation

    Year: 

    2014

    "Towards the Circular Economy vol.3: accelerating the scale-up across global supply chains, finds that over US$1 trillion a year could be generated by 2025 for the global economy and 100,000 new jobs created for the next five years if companies focused on encouraging the build-up of circular supply chains to increase the rate of recycling, reuse, and remanufacture. This would maximize the value of materials when products approach the end of their use." (...

    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.

    SteamBio

    Type of evidence: 

    Source: 

    Spire2030

    Year: 

    2015

    SteamBio is an industry-research partnership supported by the EC Horizon 2020 Programme and SPIRE public private partnership, launched on 1st February 2015. SteamBio will demonstrate in fields and forests an innovative mobile superheated steam process. This process will convert agro-forestry residues into stable feedstock for biochemical and bioenergy uses. SteamBio involves the development of decentralised business models to enable widespread flexible deployment in rural areas across Europe. The successful project will create local jobs and generate local wealth. It will also contribute...

    Integration of Advanced Biofuels in the Circular Economy: Identifying major innovation options

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    René van Ree

    Source: 

    IEA Bioenergy

    Year: 

    2016

    Discusses ideal bioeconomy using biofuel and bioenergy, with an analysis of fuel projects, commercial status of various biofuel technologies, cascading use of biomass, and market values of different products

    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.  

    The effect of bioenergy expansion: Food, energy, and environment

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    J. Popp, Z.Lakner, M.Harangi-Rákos, M.Fári

    Source: 

    Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews

    Year: 

    2014

    "The increasing prices and environmental impacts of fossil fuels have made the production of biofuels to reach unprecedented volumes over the last 15 years. Given the increasing land requirement for biofuel production, the assessment of the impacts that extensive biofuel production may cause to food supply and to the environment has considerable importance. Agriculture faces some major inter-connected challenges in delivering food security at a time of increasing pressures from population growth, changing consumption patterns and dietary preferences, and post-harvest losses. At the same...

    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...

    The Litte Book of Biofuels

    Type of evidence: 

    Source: 

    BirdLife International, European Environmental Bureau (EEB), Transport & Environment (T&E)

    Year: 

    2014

    "With the launch of the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) in 2009, Europe’s demand for biofuels has skyrocketed. To meet this new demand, the global production of biofuels has also increased significantly. In fact, did you know that every car in Europe uses a blend of biofuels? That’s how common this product has become. Biofuels use vegetable oils, cereals, sugars and waste fats – mainly extracted from rapeseed, soy, palm trees, corn and wheat – to create energy. Because biofuels are derived from plant products, any increase or decrease in their use has a direct impact on agriculture...

    CarbonNext

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Dennis Krämer, Katy Armstrong, Hans Bolscher

    Source: 

    H2020

    Year: 

    2016

    "CarbonNext is a Horizon2020 project funded by the European Commission to investigate the opportunities for alternative carbon feedstocks as we move away from using fossil fuels as the main source. We need to find new sources of carbon for industrial process if we are to create a sustainable chemical process industry in Europe that reduces its carbon dioxide emissions. CarbonNext's objective is to evaluate the potential of new carbon sources in Europe. It will pri-marily focus on new sources of carbon to be used as a feedstock and secondarily the impact this will have on on energy...

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