November 29, 2022

Circle Economy to discuss global circular value chains at WCEF 2022

We are excited to join circular thinkers and doers at the World Circular Economy Forum 2022 in Kigali, Rwanda. Held in Africa for the first time, the forum will shed light on the role the circular economy plays in global value chains, social justice, climate, biodiversity and more. Open and free for everyone online, it will provide food for thought for circular professionals and newbies alike. Read on for an overview of the sessions we will co-organise and participate in. 

‘Circular Trade and Value Chains’

African suppliers are too often the lowest-paid actors in global value chains and the first to suffer from the environmental repercussions of rich countries’ overconsumption. How can we ensure the circular economy works for, not against African nations?

This session will explore the possibilities and challenges related to trade and the circular economy in Africa, elaborating on the continent’s role in global circular value chains and intra-continental trade with the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). Following a discussion on the principles for more just and inclusive circular trade, a panel discussion on electronic waste and tech trade in Africa will take place. 

Practical information

Date and time: 6th of December, from 14:40 to 15:50 CAT (13:40 to 14:50 CET)
Organisers: Chatham House, UNIDO, International Chamber of Commerce, Circle Economy, The Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra and the UN Environment Programme. 

Find the recording here.

‘Circular policies without borders’

The new EU Circular Economy Action Plan uses incentives and requirements to accelerate circular production and consumption. However well-intended, it may lead to trade barriers for some developing countries, which might struggle to comply with the new regulations. 

This session will examine the implications of EU circular economy policies for producers and exporters in developing countries. It seeks to answer the question ‘What can be done to maximise the benefits and mitigate potential trade barriers?’ by showcasing policy, trade and finance solutions for the plastics and textile industries in several developing markets. 


This event is part of Accelerator Sessions, practice-oriented talks that will link WCEF 2022 with the daily work needed for a circular transition. 

Practical information

Date and time: 8th of December, from 10:30 to 11:50 CAT (9:30 to 10:50 CET)
Organisers: United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Chatham House, Circle Economy, European Investment Bank, SWITCH to Green Facility and DG INTPA

Find the recording here.

‘Increasing the circularity of fashion’

The global textile and garment sector is a major emitter of CO2 and consumer of raw materials. Circular business models and designs can lower the negative impacts of the industry by retaining the value of textiles, extending their life cycles and boosting the use of recycled materials.

But how can the fashion industry put this potential into practice? This session will address this question by delving into the required technical, social and business innovations. It will also investigate the necessary shifts in production and consumption practices as well as in policies and education.


This event is part of Accelerator Sessions, practice-oriented talks that will link WCEF 2022 with the daily work needed for a circular transition. 

Practical information

Date and time: 8th of December, from 12:15 to 13:30 CAT (11:15 to 12:30 CET)
Organisers: United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), MedWaves, SWITCH to Green Facility, Chatham House and Circle Economy.

Find the recording here.

‘Achieving social justice in a global circular economy’

Circularity does not end at national borders. To build a truly inclusive and just economy, businesses and governments must consider the social and economic impacts of circular interventions globally. This online side event held on the 27th of October explored the implications of a circular economy for workers and employers in a globalised economy. 

The session discussed the latest paper from Circle Economy's Circular Jobs Initiative, which highlights the role of three key levers to address the oversights and assumptions of prevailing narratives on the circular economy: consider people beyond your borders; trade responsibly; and exchange know-how and means. 

Practical information

Participants: Circle Economy, International Labour Organization (ILO), Women in Informal Employment: Globalising and Organising, Or Foundation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Netherlands. 

See the recording here.

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