Areas of operation for the Slovenia Deep Demonstration are structured into three pillars and seventeen interconnected sub-programmes.
The integrated portfolio will include ongoing established programmes, fostering cooperation between them to build systemic solutions. Calls for proposals and tenders will also take place to invite various stakeholders to submit projects and participate.
Pillar 1: Create smart and circular communities
The mission of the first pillar is to create smart and circular communities through basic learning processes.
The Circular Schools programme puts young people at the very centre, empowering them to be agents of change, working on real-life challenges encountered in their schools and communities, gaining professional experience and investing themselves in early-stage circular business, NGO and community ideas solving the challenges of local companies, communities and other key stakeholders.
The Circular Learning & Resources programme enables learning to achieve a continuous process for ongoing improvements and acceleration to catalyse systemic change and circular impact. The process is supported by a flexible learning loop, a framework consisting of various learning pathways that support stakeholders to harvest, capture and share learnings and results in a way that they can be fed back into the programme for further improvement, acceleration and higher impact.
The Circular Synergies programme will work across all Slovenian local communities and 12 development regions, fostering local experimentation and peer-to-peer-learning. This will support the implementation of new disruptive innovations across the entire country through strategic planning at regional scale, as well as project identification and preparation.
Pillar 2: Foster circular development
The second pillar encourages and supports the development of circular innovations, products, services and business models.
In order to achieve this, the Circular Discovery programme will support the visibility of Slovenian start-ups, i.e. ecopreneurs developing low-carbon and circular solutions, providing them with support and investment at every stage of development. It will facilitate collaboration with established experts and support their commercial breakthrough by including them in tailored support programmes.
The SME Circular Innovation Support programme is a tailored advisory service initiative aimed at stimulating the implementation of viable SME circular business cases for key supply-chain actors and key clients. While doing that, the programme will also explore and create synergies with existing local support bodies and instruments for SMEs, most notably the Slovene Enterprise Fund and SPIRIT Slovenia, the country’s public agency for entrepreneurship, internationalisation, foreign investments and technology.
As Slovenian development policies transition from linear to circular, there is a need to understand what supporting tools are required to indicate and measure the successful integration and implementation of development strategies. This is the function of the Circular Performance programme which will establish a robust evidence base about the transition to a circular and low-carbon economy, helping policy-makers decide on priorities and assess in an informed way the potential policy options.
Pillar 3: Circular policy design and science
The third pillar aims at influencing key decisions and policy makers based on scientific findings.
For this purpose, the Pioneering Circular Higher Education programme aims to develop dedicated educational courses, strengthen research and scientific outputs in the area of circular and low-carbon – including the mobilisation of capital and funding – and foster student and teaching staff mobility between partner universities and countries.
The Transition Policy Lab programme aims to build capacity to co-design and implement systemic policies, removing policy barriers for a smart and circular low-carbon economy and society in Slovenia. This will be a space for experimentation, addressing complex and systemic policy problems that require alternative approaches that can lead to potential transformative policies and actions.
Circular public procurement is an approach of ‘greening’ procurement, which recognises the role of public authorities in the transition towards a circular economy. The Circular Procurement programme plans to integrate circular economy principles into public – and if relevant private – purchases and other systems for ordering products and services. This way circular procurement can become a powerful lever for circular economy transition by generating a market pull.
Financing the circular economy transition
Shifting the Slovenian economy to a carbon-neutral, circular model requires funding. This funding comes in two types: grant money and investment capital. For both of these funding types, there are two challenges to be solved: mobilising funding, and allocating funding as effectively as possible in service of the circular economy vision.
The Financing the Circular Economy Transition programme will address these issues through two streams of activity: Funding Architecture for grants, and Transformation Capital for investment capital.
Circular Value Chains
The Circular Value Chains are a series of programmes intended to create a pathway towards circularity, higher resource productivity and decarbonisation in six key value chains identified by the Government of Slovenia. These programmes will be executed in close liaison with regional authorities and communities to establish strong bottom-up support for the Slovenia Deep Demonstration activities across the country. Within the programmes, in addition to setting focus on materials’ circularity, an innovative approach to decarbonising raw materials production, including fuels and other primary materials, is explored at a systems level, encompassing multiple value chains.
The six value chains are the following:
- Forestry-Based Industries: higher export value of the forest processing sector, growing the market and increased CO2 sequestration.
- Circular Buildings: boosting innovation for related industries, eco-design and circular construction, and carbon sequestration by using wood as a construction material.
- Mobility: reduced traffic jams, shorter travel times and improved use of public spaces.
- Manufacturing: circulation of quality-retaining materials, replacing fossil-fuel-based materials and reducing the use of primary raw materials.
- Food: low-carbon food production, reduced production of components and multi-channel food supply.
- All industries: prototyping the by-product market and encouraging innovation in this field to ensure transformation through optimised resource consumption in every value chain. This umbrella programme acts as a link between all the value chains.