The three Cs of the Circular Economy
What do you get if you bring together a group of Bulgarians, Catalan, Dutch, English, French, Polish & Slovenians?
Whilst reflecting on the conference, I have pulled out three Cs from the experience which capture both the intent of the CircE project and the approach that is essential for success in influencing industry and regions in circularity:
Today, on a cold and wet winter’s day in January, it is a welcome opportunity to think back to two warm (at least warm for November) days in Barcelona at the CircE conference.
LOOP were invited to participate in the “Circular Economy across European Regions, Synergies and Complementarities conference” (CircE for short) as a London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB) stakeholder. Since July 2017 LOOP has been working with Advance London, LWARB’s business support programme.
For LOOP, this provided a chance to hear how other regions and their stakeholders are making progress in implementing the circular economy. It also provided LOOP with a platform to present our experiences as a start-up with a goal to accelerate the transition into a circular economy, along with the opportunities and challenges we’ve encountered along the way. The common themes running through all the conference discussions about the opportunities and barriers to progress further could be summed up with three Cs; collaboration, communication and commitment.
CircE’s purpose is to facilitate progress in understanding and embedding a circular economy approach across the eight regions, then scaling this knowledge to a wider audience. The project, in looking at a range of areas, including food waste, textiles, WEE, plastics, tourism, biomass, raw materials and the built environment, provides an opportunity to identify synergies and collaborate across subject areas as well as across regions. For instance, significant achievements in Lombardy have been made in tackling food waste through collaboration between businesses, local government and the public.
Built Environment – Barriers & Opportunities to the Circular Economy
LWARB, taking the lead on the ‘built environment’ theme, worked closely with Lombardy and Sofia to identify key barriers they face when attempting to embed circular economy across their regions. Interestingly, these three barriers exist across the majority of the themes being reviewed.
A chance to look forward came when we moved on to discussing opportunities. Running through all opportunities is the need for effective communication and commitment to ensure that those who need to play a role in affecting change understand what’s required, why it’s needed and how it can be delivered.
So there we are, two days and abundant barriers and opportunities summarised in 500 words. As I have mentioned, these three Cs only in part capture the conference discussions. What is not captured in those words is the passion, drive and openness of those in the room to make a difference – a difference not only for their own professional and regional advancement, but, in true recognition of what’s required to achieve circularity, to make a difference across borders for a Europe-wide transition to a circular economy.