Understanding the transition to a circular economy and its implications on the environment, economy and society
The transition to a circular economy entails a systemic transformation of entire value chains, covering design, production and consumption phases, so that the value of products, materials and resources can be maintained in the economy for as long as possible, while reducing environmental impact. It also aims at increasing material productivity, including de-materialisation, and exploring new representations and practices of property for individuals and collectives. Such a deep transformation is unlikely to happen suddenly and would rather follow some transition processes and pathways. Understanding, in critical and thoughtful way, the transition to a circular economy and its positive and negative implications on the environment, economy and society (including human health), will be important for the development and adoption of circular economy approaches, including the design of well-targeted transitional policy measures. Moreover, the identification and analysis of best practices of the transition to a circular economy in- or outside Europe, on a citizen, business sectorial and macroeconomic level, possibly covering different cooperation models (including B2B, B2C, P2P, etc.) will serve as an inspiration for specific projects. They also can inform new and adapted policies and policy tools including regulation, taxation and financing, incentives, strategic governance mechanisms and soft tools (e.g. communication and awareness raising tools) to further disseminating the concept of circularity.
The project results are expected to contribute to:
- more systemic policy decisions to further facilitate the transition to a safe, environmentally friendly, efficient and effective circular economy in selected sectors;
- efficient and effective use of both primary and secondary resources in Europe, reducing waste generation, negative health impacts, environmental pollution and greenhouse gas emissions;
- new business opportunities for European industries and SMEs;
- creating new tools and methodologies oriented to companies, to consider social, environmental and economic aspects when they design circular business models;
- creating incentives and support the development of strategic governance mechanisms that enable the transition to a Circular Economy and contribute to the effective implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in Europe;
- supporting the achievement of climate commitments and specific quantitative targets on resources efficiency, recycling rates or waste disposal quotas.