During the World Circular Economy Forum (WCEF) 2023 in Helsinki, environment focussed directors from the leading Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) met to discuss the topic of the circular economy for the first time.
The African Development Bank (AfDB), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the European Investment Bank (EIB), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), IDB Invest, and the World Bank acknowledged the importance of the circular economy transition in combating the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution, and emphasised the key role the financial sector has in supporting countries’ transition to a circular economy.
The directors recognised the value of collaboration between the MDBs on the circular economy, and agreed that their institutions should continue to work together, including via the Circularity Exchange Network (CEN) - a group initiated by Circle Economy and the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure & Water Management that also consists of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, UNEP-FI and the World Economic Forum. The Network enables the MDBs to exchange knowledge on the circular economy, as well as providing a platform to collaboratively work on standards, tools and products to facilitate circular activities and projects.
As outlined in the report “Unlocking the Potential of the International Financial Institutions in the Circular Economy Transition” the future MDB collaboration will consider the following aims:
Based on the above, the MDBs will continue to work with private sector and national agencies, to introduce circular economy approaches into their sustainable development activities.
For questions or further information please reach out to Marvin Nusseck (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Under the umbrella of the global “SWITCH to Circular Value Chains” project—a five year initiative funded by the European Union and the Government of Finland—Circle Economy will implement a train-the-trainer program to support Micro, Small and Medium-size Enterprises (MSMEs) in the plastic packaging sector in Morocco to adopt circular economy practices. For the first phase of this program, Circle Economy has partnered with the Centre Technique de Plasturgie et de Caoutchouc to assess key training needs for the sector around the circular economy.
The CTPC brings with them extensive access to the plastic industry in Morocco, as well as established expertise in training and capacity-development, and will therefore serve as a key implementation partner in delivering an assessment of the current capacity and awareness of circularity within Moroccan companies.
“We are thrilled to have found such great and complementary partners in the CTPC. Our circular economy frameworks and tools, together with their vast experience with the plastics sector in Morocco, will ensure the content and methods we develop together are fit for purpose—and continue to serve their purpose long after the project’s end date.” — Hilde van Duijn - Head of Global Value Chains at Circle Economy
“We are delighted to partner with Circle Economy in this important project. I am convinced that we will succeed through our collaboration in implementing an effective Circular Economy approach within Moroccan companies; which I do believe will bring sustainable added value to all stakeholders. We’ll support and help the Circle Economy team to success this initiative and achieve its assigned objectives.” — ASSOU Youssef – General Manager of CTPC
This partnership will allow to:
Between June and October 2023, Circle Economy and the CTPC will roll out an evaluation tool to achieve these goals and are looking to enrol MSMEs to participate in the assessment phase.
Interested MSMEs can visit the CTPC stand at PlastExpo at El Jadida on June 7-10 to learn more about the program, or contact the CTPC team directly:
For general queries about the Switch to Circular Economy Value Chains programme, please contact the Circle Economy team:
About Switch to Circular Economy Value Chains
Launched in 2020, SWITCH2CE is a five-year initiative that assists EU multinational companies and their suppliers from developing countries to switch to more circular economy approaches and practices in three selected value chains: Plastic Packaging, Textile & Garments, and ICT and Electronics. The overall objective of SWITCH to Circular Economy Value Chain Project is to support the “Transformation towards a circular economy”, including to contribute to sustainable growth, low carbon and climate resilient development, decent jobs creation, and safer, healthier and pollution-free environment. SWITCH is co-funded by the European Union and the Government of Finland, and implemented by UNIDO, in collaboration with Chatham House, Circle Economy, and the European Investment Bank.
Learn more at: www.switchtocircular.eu
About Circle Economy
Circle Economy is a global impact organisation with an international team of passionate experts based in Amsterdam. We empower businesses, cities and nations with practical and scalable solutions to put the circular economy into action. Our vision is an economic system that ensures the planet and all people can thrive. To avoid climate breakdown, our goal is to double global circularity by 2032.
Learn more at: www.circle-economy.com
About the Centre Technique de Plasturgie et de Caoutchouc
The CTPC is a non-profit association created in 2005 by the Ministry of Industry in Morocco and the Moroccan Plastic Federation (FMP) with the financial support of the European Union.
With a staff of doctors, engineers and experts in the field of polymers, it provides a specific value proposition in order to strengthen the development and technological integration of industrial companies in the field of plastics, rubbers and composites.
Learn more at: www.ctpc.ma
London, 17 May, 2023 – Today, ICMM has announced new research partnerships with the Columbia Centre on Sustainable Investment (CCSI), the Enel Foundation and Circle Economy to investigate the role of the mining and metals sector in accelerating a global circular economy that contributes to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and aims of the Paris Agreement.
ICMM’s partnership with Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI) and the Enel Foundation will explore the necessary conditions that would enable mineral and metals to play a central role in a global circular economy. It will focus on the value chains of wind turbines and solar photovoltaic (PV) panels and zero in on four key materials: aluminium, copper, silicon and steel. The research will also explore how mining companies could adopt new circular concepts and operations, and interact with the value chain. This work will be based on information and data gained from collaboration with the industry (through ICMM members), policy-makers, investors, financiers, research institutions and downstream purchasers of metals.
ICMM’s partnership with Circle Economy aims to better understand the flow of the key transition minerals and metals being covered in the preliminary research with CCSI and the Enel Foundation and their end use in use in solar panels and wind turbines in key markets. The outcome is expected to be a defined set of indicators that can support mining companies and others in the value chain to develop partnerships and business opportunities that maximise circularity, while creating socio-environmental and economic value.
Christian Spano, Director of Innovation, ICMM, said: “Minerals and metals are at the heart of a just energy transition. They will power our energy and transport systems of the future, and are critical in enabling a global circular economy. As mining operations become increasingly circular – by working to eliminate waste, designing land use to be regenerative so that it can continue to add value to nature and society long after the mine has closed, and developing initiatives to recover and repurpose metals from downstream products – we have a great opportunity to drive prosperity for resource-rich countries and supply the durable materials that that the world needs. But, to become truly circular, collaboration and innovation across value chains will be critical. We need to understand what conditions are necessary for these durable materials to be recovered at any time, when society needs them. ICMM is thrilled to be working with CCSI, the Enel Foundation and Circle Economy to help solve challenges impeding progress and accelerate a global circular economy at scale.”
Perrine Toledano, Director of Research and Policy, CCSI, said: “The mineral intensity of the zero-carbon energy transition will inevitably require an expansion in mining activities, but it will also require mining companies to systemically adopt circularity approaches, based on a comprehensive circular economy strategy. CCSI is excited to collaborate with ICMM and the Enel Foundation in continuing its research on economic, technological, legal, and policy aspects to drive primary extractive companies to respond to climate and broader sustainability imperatives by repositioning themselves as materials solutions providers.”
Silvia Burgos, Senior Researcher, Enel Foundation, said: “The transition to a net-zero greenhouse gas emissions future and the digitalisation of a growing global population will increase the demand for minerals and metals. By partnering at mine sites and along materials value chains, there is an opportunity for companies to accelerate and scale up solutions to increase the value that they can deliver in terms of social and environmental progress combined with economic growth. This lens enables companies and countries to rethink how value is created, in line with sustainable development.”
Jacco Verstraeten-Jochemsen, Lead Business Solutions, Circle Economy said: “The transition to a circular economy is essential in realising a safe and just environment for all. For instance, doubling the circularity of the global economy will bring the 1,5 ˚C pathways of the Paris Agreement within reach. The energy transition and shift to renewable energy systems should be a core focus - both to mitigate climate change and to minimise the need for and wasting of valuable minerals. Mining companies have a key role to play in implementing circular economy principles in the renewable energy value chain. They can minimise waste production, increase efficiency and implement regenerative principles at mining sites. Even more so, their technology, their expertise and their experience in waste management can prove vital for other players in the value chain that want to become more circular. Such contributions start with a clear definition of the end goal, consensus on the metrics and opportunities, and commitment to share best practices.”
Findings from this research are expected to be published in early 2024.
The World Circular Economy Forum (WCEF) 2023 is coming to Helsinki, Finland, and so are Circle Economy’s experts! From the 30th of May to the 2nd of June, we will be joining circular game changers to discuss circular solutions for nature and the economy. This year, we’re proud to be co-organising two plenary sessions and participating in a number of Accelerator sessions. To make the forum accessible to everyone in the world, WCEF 2023 will be live-streamed online. Check an overview of our sessions below, pick your favourites and don’t forget to register!
Accelerating the circular transition will require much more public and private capital than is currently available. How can we engage the financial sector and enable more funding for the circular economy? This parallel session, co-organised by Circle Economy and the European Investment Bank, will discuss roadmaps as a tool to tackle challenges and de-risk investments in circular initiatives globally. Representatives of multilateral banking institutions, the private sector, national governments and local decision-makers will share their insights on investing in our circular future.
Date and time: 30th of May, 13:30-14:45 EEST (UTC +3)
Organisers: Circle Economy, European Investment Bank, GIZ, PREVENT Waste Alliance, Ministry of Infrastructure & Water Management of the Netherlands
CE Speakers: Marvin Nussack (Strategist)
Event page: https://wcef2023.com/sessions/unlocking-finance-for-a-circular-and-regenerative-economy/
The conventional education system can’t keep up with the world’s scale and speed of change. But how can we design educational programmes fit for current and future challenges? Our Circular Jobs Initiative Lead, Esther Goodwin Brown, will join inspiring speakers in this eye-opening session to discuss education enabling the circular transition. Panellists from practical and academic backgrounds will debate circular skills and explore how to deliver them to everyone.
Date and time: 30th of May, 15:15-16:30 EEST (UTC+3)
Organisers: Alto University
CE Speakers: Esther Goodwin Brown (Circular Jobs Initiative Lead)
Event page: https://wcef2023.com/sessions/new-education-for-a-changing-world/
More and more companies are adopting circular principles to reduce costs, manage risks and create positive impacts on society and the environment. Despite these benefits, investments in linear business models still surpass funding allocated to circular initiatives. This plenary discussion will demonstrate that the circular economy holds a huge untapped potential. A panel of experts from multilateral institutions and investment banks will examine actions needed to prompt a systemic shift in corporations and investors.
Date and time: 31st of May, 9:00-10:00 EEST (UTC +3)
Organisers: Circle Economy, Sitra
CE Speakers: Marvin Nussack (Strategist)
Event page: https://wcef2023.com/sessions/money-talks-what-enables-a-systemic-shift-for-corporates-and-investors/
The roundtable featuring our Head of Global Value Chains, Hilde van Duijn, will focus on bridging together the Global South and the Global North and breaking cultural and lifestyle barriers through circular policies, economic incentives and business models. It will spotlight deep-rooted circular economy practices in the Global South and argue that the ‘one size fits all’ concept of sustainability cannot be applied worldwide. The International Council for Circular Economy will also highlight the role of the Global South in enabling a global circular transition.
Date and time: 31st of May, 16:45-18:15 EEST (UCT+3)
Organisers: International Council for Circular Economy
CE Speakers: Hilde van Duijn (Head of Global Value Chains)
Event page: https://ic-ce.com/upcoming-events/
This session will deep dive into game changing regulatory developments within the European Corporate Sustainability Directive, which companies are affected, and how they can prepare most effectively to report on the new circular economy and resource use standards.
Date and time: 1st of June, 14:00 EEST (UCT+3)
Organisers: Nordic Innovation, Regnskap Norge, KPMG, the Danish Business Authority and Circle Economy
CE Speakers: Jacco Verstraeten-Jochemsen (Business Solutions Lead)
Event page: https://wbcsd.my.salesforce-sites.com/GuestEventPageV2?aId=a5s5p000001Ue6v
The circular transition starts with rethinking value chains in key sectors such as plastic, packaging, textiles and electronics. This Accelerator session will share key takeaways and analyse scalable circular economy models implemented under two EU-funded projects. Join us for an interactive session and put your knowledge to the test with the ‘Circularity Game’ experience on Plastic or Textiles, aiming to assess and raise awareness of the circular economy among suppliers. Please bring your phone to access the Game online!
Date and time: 1st of June, 9:00-10:45 EEST (UTC +3)
Organisers: Unido SwitchMED and Switch2CE projects, in collaboration with Circle Economy and Chatham House, with financial support from the European Union and the Government of Finland
CE Speakers: Hilde van Duijn (Head of Global Value Chains)
Event page: https://wcef2023.com/sessions/switchcolab-consultative-forum-on-circular-economy-solutions-for-industries/
The event, organised by the Circular Buildings Coalition (CBC), will consist of two sub-sessions. In the first sub-session (10:00-12:00 EEST), the CBC will present insights from its research into the current state of the European built environment and share scalable strategies to accelerate its circular transition. The second sub-session (12:00-13:00 EEST) will discuss the role of cities in the transition towards a circular economy based on lessons learned from the ICLEI City Loops project.
Date and time: 1st of June, 10:00-13:00 EEST (UTC +3)
Organisers: Circular Buildings Coalition, Circle Economy, ICLEI Europe
CE Speakers: Samy Kazemi (Built Environment Lead), Sreeja Raghunathan (Junior Consultant Built Environment)
Event page: https://wcef2023.com/sessions/accelerating-the-transition-towards-a-circular-built-environment/
What do we mean by a ‘circular built environment’? Why does it matter? This session will launch ‘Our Shared Understanding’, a set of guiding principles to help stakeholders in the built environment align policies, strategies and initiatives to accelerate the transition to a circular economy. A panel of world-leading experts will explore and discuss the findings and what they mean to their organisations.
Date and time: 1st of June, 13:30-14:30 EEST (UTC +3)
Organisers: Circle Economy, Collaboration of Leading Figures in Built Environment
CE Speakers: Martijn Lopes Cardozo (CEO), Samy Kazemi (Built Environment Lead), Sreeja Raghunathan (Junior Consultant Built Environment)
Event page: https://wcef2023.com/sessions/our-shared-understanding-the-circular-economy-in-the-built-environment/
How can we promote decent work opportunities in the circular economy? This Accelerator session will investigate solutions for a just and inclusive circular transition grounded in a joint research project of Circle Economy, the International Labour Organisation and the Solutions for Youth Employment (S4YE) Programme of the World Bank. The event aims to equip a diverse audience, including national governments, civil society organisations, industry leaders and practitioners, with the knowledge and tools needed to shape decent employment in the circular economy.
Date and time: 1st of June, 16:00-17:30 EEST (UTC+3)
Organisers: Circle Economy, International Labour Organization, Solutions for Youth Employment Programme at World Bank
CE Speakers: Esther Goodwin Brown (Circular Jobs Initiative Lead)
Event page: https://wcef2023.com/sessions/ensuring-a-just-and-jobs-rich-transition-to-a-sustainable-future-for-all/
The energy transition is metal-hungry, with many low-carbon technologies requiring vast quantities of metals and minerals. To address possible metal shortages and supply chain disruptions, all parts of the metals value chain should collaborate and amplify their circularity. But how? This workshop will feature diverse stakeholders bringing about creative solutions to promote circularity in the metals value chain—from miners to manufacturers and policymakers.
Date and time: 2nd of June, 9:30-11:30 EEST (UTC +3)
Organisers: Circle Economy, Columbia Center for Sustainable Investment (CCSI), ICMM
CE Speakers: Tamara Veldboer (Business Strategies Lead)
Event page: https://wcef2023.com/sessions/imagining-the-metals-value-chains-of-the-future/
We would be happy to see you at these events! To watch the live stream of the main programme, please register via this form. To join the Accelerator sessions, please register separately via the sessions’ pages provided above.
The circular economy is growing in popularity among businesses and policymakers as a means to reach climate goals. By increasing the reuse and regeneration of products and materials, a total of 7 to 8 million new jobs can be created. However, the new report, Decent Work in the Circular Economy: An Overview of the Existing Evidence Base, identifies knowledge gaps which may hinder the creation of new employment opportunities.
This study reveals that current research on jobs in the circular economy displays a strong Global North bias. It fails to address the impact circular economy interventions have on people in countries in the Global South, atypical workers, women, migrants, youth and other vulnerable populations. Additionally, the study outlines what we currently know about jobs in the circular economy. It also pinpoints research gaps, calling for more consistent and internationally relevant evidence to create a stronger foundation for decision-making.
The report finds that 84% of current research focuses on countries in the Global North. Sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa were the least represented regions—despite the fact that most circular economy activities are now located in the Global South. Moreover, while 73% of workers in low-income countries are employed in the informal economy, most research concerns formal, regulated work.
Existing research also focuses disproportionately on job creation and disregards job quality, including working conditions and wages. The report finds that only a handful of studies have examined whether and how a circular economy can alleviate poverty and benefit vulnerable communities in low-income countries.
Namita Datta, S4YE Program Manager, calls our attention to poor working conditions in the Global South: ‘It is not as much the concept of circularity that needs an introduction in these economies, but instead, the focus would be on addressing the low quality, low paying jobs in the informal sector with hazardous working conditions and exposure to toxic materials that are associated with circular activities like waste management, recycling, repair and reuse'.
Speaking on the need to address the social dimension of the circular economy, Alette van Leur, Director of the Sectoral Policies Department of the ILO said, ‘There is no doubt that a circular economy can help us reach our climate goals. However, the links between circularity and the achievement of social and economic progress remain overlooked. The shift towards a more circular economy offers significant opportunities for the world of work, such as the creation of new jobs and sustainable enterprises.’
Ultimately, the new report calls for more in-depth and inclusive research on decent work and the circular economy, which puts the Global South, informal workers and global value chains in the spotlight. The authors also reveal the need for joint advocacy and data partnerships to close knowledge gaps and build links to other important themes, such as climate justice and female empowerment.
Access the full report here.
This report is the first output under the ‘Jobs in the Circular Economy’ initiative of Circle Economy, the ILO and S4YE. This initiative aims to address gaps in the evidence base for circular jobs through collaboration with an international community of research institutions, industry representatives, social partners, governments and public agencies. The launch of the initiative takes place on May 9th at the Geneva Environment Network, the details of which can be found here. Members of the initiative will also present findings from the report at this year’s World Circular Economy Forum.
Find out more about our joint initiative on our website.
With thanks for the generous support from the @Goldschmeding Foundation.
The Circular Buildings Coalition (CBC), which aims to accelerate the transition to a circular built environment, is proud to showcase the first outcomes of its collaborative work. On the 1st of June, during the World Circular Economy Forum (WCEF) in Helsinki, Finland, the CBC will launch the landmark report on the current state of the European built environment sector and a call for applications, with more materials coming out later in June.
The Circular Buildings Coalition is hosting the WCEF Accelerator session ‘Accelerating the transition towards a circular built environment’, a hybrid event comprised of two sub-sessions.
During the Accelerator session, the CBC will officially announce its open call for Blueprint Projects—initiatives that can accelerate the circular transition. Selected projects will receive financial support and tailored mentorship to become showcase examples for market players and policymakers to learn from and reproduce. This would allow for large-scale implementation of circular economy principles in the built environment worldwide. Details on how to submit projects and the application process will be announced on the CBC’s webpage on the 1st of June and during the Information Day webinar on June 14th. The webinar will also provide potential applicants with an opportunity to have all of their questions answered.
More information and registration options for the WCEF Accelerator session are available here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/accelerating-the-transition-towards-a-circular-built-environment-tickets-623498128687
On a final note, some of the Coalition’s partners will attend the Urban Future conference being held on the 21st–23rd of June in Stuttgart. More details about our participation and live streaming will be announces soon.
The CBC is an initiative of seven thought leaders and frontrunners in the circular built environment: Metabolic, Circle Economy, the World Green Building Council (WGBC), the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and Arup. The CBC intends to grow its reach by strengthening collaboration towards the transition, supporting key initiatives and developing new partnerships. Organisations interested in joining the movement or showcasing their circular solutions are invited to get in touch: https://www.circularbuildingscoalition.org/join-our-movement.
The Circular Economy Indicators Coalition (CEIC) has launched an online Circular Indicators Library on Circle Economy’s Knowledge Hub. The library consists of a curated collection of circle economy indicators that financiers can employ to track the circular performance of their investments.
The first set to be released contains around 50 indicators, methodologies and resources for banks to measure the circularity of investments and loans to businesses, in addition to measuring their social, economic and environmental impacts. The library informs investment decisions by helping financiers evaluate businesses' circular performance against reliable and meaningful benchmarks.
One example from the library’s latest indicator set is ‘product recyclability’, measured in percentage of the total weight of materials used in ‘designed for recycling’ products or services. The criteria for considering a product ‘designed for recycling’ includes low material complexity, low toxicity and ease with which product materials can be separated.
With this new tool, the CEIC is making circular indicators accessible to users globally and enabling them to pinpoint the most relevant examples linked to regulations, target groups and clusters. The coalition will continue adding new indicators to the library, including those geared towards policy and labour market analysts.
The Circular Indicators Library adds to the practical resources developed by the CEIC, a collaboration between the Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy (PACE) and Circle Economy. The coalition strives to harmonise and increase the application of circular indicators worldwide to steer the circular transition and assess the impact of circular economy interventions.
With multiple challenges, ranging from limitations in indicator coverage to data availability and collection, the field of circular economy metrics is still in its infancy. The CEIC responds to this challenge by collecting meaningful circularity indicators and working towards their wider acceptance, for example, in governments and corporate target-setting.
The library was noted in the United Nations Environment Programme’s report, ‘Guidance on Resource Efficiency and Circular Economy Target Setting’, as a source of circularity criteria.
The Circular Indicators Library is part of Circle Economy’s Knowledge Hub, the largest circular online library in the world. It currently contains over 5,000 circular economy case studies, reports and policies. The Knowledge Hub is a collaborative co-creation project. To co-create a new entry related to circular indicators, please contact our team through the Knowledge Hub contact form.
Circle Economy has launched a podcast series, Talking Circular. In each episode, our experts will share inspirational stories and hands-on tips to drive circularity in countries, cities and businesses.
The goal of the podcast is to evoke conversations about the circular economy and talk openly about challenges and opportunities in the circular transition. We will make sure each episode is supported by relevant resources and publications placed in the show notes.
Currently, the podcast is hosted on Spotify and SoundCloud. More platforms will be added in the future. New episodes will come out on a monthly basis, so we recommend subscribing to the podcast to get notified about new episodes.
In the first episode, our Editor, Ana Birliga Sutherland, speaks with Marvin Nusseck, who leads our finance team. They discuss:
Listen and subscribe to the Talking Circular Podcast on Spotify