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...

    Circular Economy: Measuring innovation in product chains

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    José Potting, Marko Hekkert, Ernst Worrell, Aldert Hanemaaijer

    Source: 

    PBL

    Year: 

    2016

    This Dutch study aims to explore how the transition to a circular economy can be measured in the production chain and focuses on asking relevant policy questions for plastic packaging (bottles and other plastic packaging) and electrical devices (washing machines and dryers, and fridges and freezers). However, it does not provide corresponding indicators.

    Three types of CE-transitions are identified:
    • CE-transitions that place the development of a specific, radical new technology central
    • CE-transitions that place socio-economic change central
    • CE-transitions...

    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.

    The Circular Dairy Economy: Exploring the case for a farmer led, 'net positive' circular dairy sector

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Circle Economy, FrieslandCampina

    Source: 

    Circle Economy

    Year: 

    2016

    The report focuses is on a proposed move toward circularity in the dairy industry. Recognizing the strong possibility that growth due to increased demand for dairy products will be seen in the future, the report advocates that the dairy industry transition to a more circular economic model not only to reduce the industries ecological footprint but also to ensure that producers maintain their “their license to operate. Furthermore, the report examines three possible circular transition pathways and analyzes their proposed benefits, policy implementation possibilities, and potential barriers...

    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...

    Circular by design: Products in the circular economy

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Mieke De Schoenmakere, Jeroen Gillabel

    Source: 

    EEA

    Year: 

    2017

    "This report explores the circular economy from a product perspective, applying a systemic approach and transition theory. Drivers of product design and usage are discussed in the context of emerging consumption trends and business models. For governance to be effective, it has to address the product life-cycle and the societal context determining it. Indicators and assessment tools will be needed to fill the current data and knowledge gaps." (p. 6)

    The Circular Economy - an Economic Impact Assessment. Report to SUN-IZA.

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    C. Böhringer, T. Rutherford

    Source: 

    SUN-IZA

    Year: 

    2015

    "Along with the growing interest in circular economic structures, there is the need to assess the economic and environmental impacts of major technology shifts in transport, building and food sector. Likewise, complementary regulatory measures to control resource use such as emission taxes or energy effiency standards must be investigated. This report summarizes the development and application of complex economic responses to technology shifts and regulatory policy measures. WIthin the limitations of the model assumptions and choices, impact assessment thus can be based on systematic...

    Resource efficiency in Europe - Policies and approaches in 31 EEA member and cooperating countries

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Paweł Kaźmierczyk, Mikkel Stenbæk Hansen, Jens Günther, David McKinnon, Christian Loewe, Fredrik Lingvall, Tamas Kristof Kallay, Jozsef Szlezak, Bettina Bahn-Walkowiak, Marton Herczeg, Dominic Wittmer

    Source: 

    EEA

    Year: 

    2011

    "This report provides an overview of resource efficiency policies and instruments in 31 member and cooperating countries of the EEA’s Eionet network. A detailed survey was conducted during the first half of 2011 to collect, analyse and disseminate information about national experiences in developing and implementing resource efficiency policies, with the goal to facilitate the sharing of experiences and good practice. The report reviews national approaches to resource efficiency and explores similarities and differences in policies, strategies, indicators and targets, policy drivers and...

    The opportunities to business of improving resource efficiency

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Bio Intelligence Service, AMEC

    Year: 

    2013

    "This study forms part of the Commission's on-going analysis of the opportunities to be gained from improving resource efficiency and how best to help business realise the potential economic, as well as environmental and social benefit." (Executive Summary)

    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...

    Achieving 'Growth Within'

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Jocelyn Blériot et al.

    Source: 

    Ellen MacArthur Foundation, SYSTEMIQ

    Year: 

    2017

    "An additional €320 billion of circular economy investment opportunities is available to investors in the European Union (EU) until 2025 that can be unlocked through modest action by policy makers or industry. This investment would put the EU on the path to seize the economic, societal, and environmental benefits of the transition to a circular economy and mitigate the mounting risks that reside in conventional industrial assets in an era of rapid change." (p. 10)

    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...)

    The Circular Economy: A review of definitions, processes and impacts

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Vasileios Rizos, Katja Tuokko, Arno Behrens

    Source: 

    CEPS

    Year: 

    2017

    Transforming the linear economy, which has remained the dominant model since the onset of the Industrial Revolution, into a circular one is by no means an easy task. Such a radical change entails a major transformation of our current production and consumption patterns, which in turn will have a significant impact on the economy, the environment and society. Understanding these impacts is crucial for researchers as well as for policy-makers engaged in designing future policies in the field. This requires developing an in-depth knowledge of the concept of the circular economy, its processes...

    CIRC-PACK

    Type of evidence: 

    Year: 

    2017

    "CIRC-PACK project aims at more sustainable, efficient, competitive, less fossil fuel dependence, integrated and interconnected plastic packaging value chain. To this end, three case studies will work in developing, testing and validating better system-wide economic and environmental outcomes by i) decoupling the chain from fossil feedstocks, (ii) reducing the negative environmental impact of plastic packaging; and (iii) creating an effective after-use plastics economy. All in all, the work will be supported by non-technological analysis and advanced methodological analysis (including...

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