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...

    Circular economy: a commentary from the perspectives of the natural and social sciences

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    European Academies Science Advisory Council

    Source: 

    EASAC

    Year: 

    2015

    This commentary by the EASAC primarily examines the proposed benefits and potential enabling policies of the circular economy. A broad range of sources is used to recognize gaps and inadequacies in proposed benefits and policies in order to foster a substantial discussion among stakeholders as to how to proceed in the transition process. The study also examines barriers and indicators and comments on their nature and efficacy respectively. Furthermore, the commentary provides advice regarding avoidance of barriers and the use of proper indicators.

    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.

    The Circular Economy: Practical steps to enhance the EU package

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Mauro Anastasio

    Source: 

    Green Budget Europe

    Year: 

    2016

    "This briefing highlights the shortcomings of the 2015 Circular Economy package, and looks at how the environmental and socially equitable reform of fiscal systems across the EU can support the transition to a circular economy." (http://green-budget.eu/tag/circular-economy/)

    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.

    More from less - material resource efficiency in Europe

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Paweł Kaźmierczyk et al.

    Source: 

    EEA

    Year: 

    2016

    "This report presents an overview of approaches to material resource efficiency and to circular economy in thirty two European countries. It explores similarities and differences in national policy responses, with respect to policy objectives, priority resources and sectors, driving forces, targets and indicators, and the institutional setup. The report also reviews the EU policy framework for resource efficiency and analyses trends in material use and resource productivity between 2000 and 2014. Finally, it includes a number of considerations for the development of future policies on...

    Measuring circular economy strategies through index methods: A critical analysis

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Valerio Elia, Maria Grazia Gnoni, Fabiana Tornese

    Source: 

    Department of Innovation Engineering, University of Salento

    Year: 

    2015

    "In the last years, the circular economy (CE) paradigm is being widely explored by researchers and institutions as a possible path to increase the sustainability of our economic system. Reuse, repair and recycling are becoming crucial activities in many sectors. At the same time, companies are showing an increasing interest for this new economic model. However, the state of the art shows that a deep research on CE assessment and indicators is still lacking, in particular on the micro level. This work tries to fill this gap, first analyzing the current literature on CE assessment, then...

    Diversifying and de-growing the circular economy: Radical social transformation in a resource-scarce world

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Kersty Hobson, Nicholas Lynch

    Source: 

    Cardiff University, The University of Oxford

    Year: 

    2016

    "Programmes and policies for a Circular Economy (CE) are fast becoming key to regional and international plans for creating sustainable futures. Framed as a technologically driven and economically profitable vision of continued growth in a resource scarce world, the CE has of late been taken up by the European Commission and global business leaders alike. However, within CE debates and documentation, little is said about the social and political implications of such transformative agendas. Whilst CE proponents claim their agenda is ‘radical’, this paper outlines its inability to address...

    The history and current applications of the circular economy concept

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    K. Winans, A. Kendall, H. Deng

    Source: 

    University of California

    Year: 

    2017

    "The challenges of balancing industrial development, environmental and human health, and economic growth in China and elsewhere in the world are drivers for recent resource use and low-carbon development strategies that include the application of the circular economy (CE) concept. A central theme of the CE concept is the valuation of materials within a closed-looped system with the aim to allow for natural resource use while reducing pollution or avoiding resource constraints and sustaining economic growth. The objectives of this study are (1) to review the history of the CE concept to...

    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...

    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.

    Design for Remanufacturing and Circular Business Models

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Sharon Prendeville, Nancy Bocken

    Source: 

    TU Delft

    Year: 

    2015

    "The core aim of this paper is to build understanding of design for remanufacturing and remanufacturing-oriented business models. The paper reports on the linkages between design and business model strategies by presenting a case of a business-led pilot study conducted to explore the commercial viability of remanufacturing. The results show how life-cycle considerations and a combination of design and business strategies can accelerate transition to resource efficient business models. The paper illuminates the topic of remanufacturing by showcasing a dynamic real-world business case, from...

    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...

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