Anders Wijkman represents EIT Climate-KIC at the International Society for the Circular Economy Conference

Speaking online at the inaugural Conference of IS4CE—the International Society for Circular Economy—on 7 July 2020, Chair of the Governing Board at EIT Climate-KIC and Honorary President of Club of Rome, Anders Wijkman emphasised the important role of cities in the promotion of circularity as well as the risks of taking a fragmented approach.

The post-COVID-19 stimulus packages and recovery measures ”must be carefully designed with clear long-term objectives so as to tackle some of the other risks that are looming on the horizon, not least climate change,” said Wikjman in his introduction. He welcomed the fact that the EU recovery plan builds on the thinking in the Green Deal and added: ”It seems as if the European Commission after many years of struggling with the concept of circular economy has the priorities right.”

Wikjman then listed a few of the key barriers to the developement of circular economy today: ”Raw materials have historically been abundant and cheap, producers have rarely paid for the external costs involved in material extraction and production, leading to a situation where virgin materials are most often less expensive than secondary materials, the productivity focus in the economy has been on labour cost, not on materials, and business models have favored short-termism, high throughput and short product life”. Fortunately, Wijkman also identified many examples of how these barriers can be addressed by policymakers. These include lowering taxes on labour and increasing taxes on resource use, removing VAT on all reused materials, and introducing design criteria across the board.

 

The role of cities in the promotion of circular economy

”Cities offer a major opportunity to drive systemic change in the economy,” said the expert, who explained that municipalities face high levels of material throughput, waste, pollution and GHG emissions, which give them ”the opportunity to drive change through innovation along the value chain and (re)design processes in all areas from policy and infrastructure to products and services.”

But most of the work around circularity is still being done in silos today. There are a multitude of vertical interventions, most often aiming at single-point solutions. ”While many of these efforts are worthy and do bring about improvements in material efficiency as well as reductions in pollution levels, such solutions rarely achieve systemic change,” said Wijkman.

EIT Climate-KIC already works with ’challenge owners’ such as municipalities to deliver a transformation service that can help them unlock fast and large-scale change. Agreements with 15 European cities, including Madrid, Milano, Vienna, Malmö and Krakow have already been signed to help them decarbonise within 10 to 15 years under a programmed called Deep Demonstration Healthy and Clean Cities. ”Once up and running the idea is to use the results for upscaling and outscaling, sharing the practices with other regions, and cities and, indeed, influence governance and policy,” concluded Wijkman.

The International Society for Circular Economy, whose secretariat is based in the University of Exeter in the UK, aims to continue to refine the contemporary scientific theory and evidence base of circular economy; provide a network to connect higher education globally to stimulate new research and educational initiatives; share significant findings, as well as promote educational offerings to business, government, academics and other stakeholders. Other speakers at the conference included Ehab Sayed, a sustainable designer and engineer and the Founder and Director of Innovation at Biohm, and Tima Bansal, Director of the Centre for Building Sustainable Value at the Ivey Business School, Ontario.

 
Location
Related Goal
Goal 9: Reboot regional economies
Articles you may be interested in
Opinion
Going beyond investments in single-point solutions, an Opinion by Kirsten Dunlop
Kirsten Dunlop CEO, EIT Climate-KIC
Going beyond investments in single-point solutions, an Opinion by Kirsten Dunlop
In The News
The climate emergency demands bold policy innovations – can cities d...

While the challenges of climate change and a global...

The climate emergency demands bold policy innovations – can cities deliver? 
In The News
EIT Climate-KIC joins circular economy side event at UN High Level Political F...

“Bold leaders are needed to drive a collaborative approach...

EIT Climate-KIC joins circular economy side event at UN High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development
In The News
EIT Climate-KIC and Silesian Metropolis join forces to transform Europe’s la...

EIT Climate-KIC and the Metropolitan Association of Upper Silesia...

EIT Climate-KIC and Silesian Metropolis join forces to transform Europe’s largest coal region in the face of the climate crisis
In The News
EIT Climate-KIC receives €8.4 million for innovation projects that stimulate...

Eleven climate innovation projects across Europe tackling COVID-19 related...

EIT Climate-KIC receives €8.4 million for innovation projects that stimulate job creation and support a post COVID-19 green recovery
In The News
CEO Kirsten Dunlop represents EIT Climate-KIC at Climate Policy Forum

On 25 June, EIT Climate-KIC attended the Climate Policy...

CEO Kirsten Dunlop represents EIT Climate-KIC at Climate Policy Forum
In Detail
A net zero future offers significant opportunities for the European economy,...

EIT Climate-KIC’s views on the EU 2030 Climate Target Plan.  The recent announcements from the European Commission on the EU Recovery Plan from the...

A net zero future offers significant opportunities for the European economy, society and citizens
In The News
EIT Climate-KIC supported LOOP-Ports project wins prestigious sustainability a...

The LOOP-Ports project, led by the Fundación Valenciaport  and funded by EIT Climate-KIC,...

EIT Climate-KIC supported LOOP-Ports project wins prestigious sustainability award
In The News
EIT Climate KIC joins roundtable as Republic of Korea moves Green Deal forward

On 24 June, EIT Climate-KIC attended the 7th Green...

EIT Climate KIC joins roundtable as Republic of Korea moves Green Deal forward
In our community
Water scarcity in Southern Europe: Manufacturing expert insights
Water scarcity in Southern Europe: Manufacturing expert insights
Opinion
A scientist’s opinion: Interview with Cliona Howie Del Rio about systems thinking
A scientist’s opinion: Interview with Cliona Howie Del Rio about systems thinking
In Detail
Citizen activation is essential for Europe to meet its climate ambition

EIT Climate-KIC provides ideas for action under the European Climate Pact. The debate on how to achieve ambitious climate targets is often dominated by...

Citizen activation is essential for Europe to meet its climate ambition
In The News
EIT Climate-KIC shines at the GLF Bonn Digital Conference, the year’s la...

EIT Climate-KIC’s Director of Sustainable Land Use and member...

EIT Climate-KIC shines at the GLF Bonn Digital Conference, the year’s largest global digital conference on the environment
In The News
EIT Climate-KIC supported Climeworks raises over €67 million to expand its c...

Climeworks, the world leader in capturing CO2 from air,...

EIT Climate-KIC supported Climeworks raises over €67 million to expand its carbon dioxide removal capacities
In The News
EIT Climate-KIC supported Zeleros raises €7 million for the development of h...

EIT Climate-KIC supported Zeleros Hyperloop has completed a financing...

EIT Climate-KIC supported Zeleros raises €7 million for the development of hyperloop in Europe
In our community
A just transformation for Rugeley, as the power station comes down
A just transformation for Rugeley, as the power station comes down
In Detail
Challenging paradigms as the gateway to innovation: New IIPP report for EIT ...

EIT Climate-KIC partner the UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose (IIPP), which works on changing how public value is imagined, practiced and evaluated...

Challenging paradigms as the gateway to innovation: New IIPP report for EIT Climate-KIC’s Landscapes as Carbon Sinks Deep Demonstration
In our community
Water scarcity in Southern Europe: Raw materials expert insights
Water scarcity in Southern Europe: Raw materials expert insights
In Detail
Challenge-led system mapping: A knowledge management approach

The challenge-led system mapping approach responds to the need to improve the practitioner’s capacity to move towards system change by providing mechanisms by which...

Challenge-led system mapping: A knowledge management approach
In The News
EIT Climate-KIC is restructuring to deliver systems transformation for climate...

EIT Climate-KIC is restructuring to provide “systems transformation as...

EIT Climate-KIC is restructuring to deliver systems transformation for climate change
In our community
Water scarcity in Southern Europe: Food expert insights
Water scarcity in Southern Europe: Food expert insights
In The News
EIT Climate-KIC and partners reassess our values in the ‘new normal’

EIT Climate-KIC, together with Edgeryders, ETH Zurich and IOTA,...

EIT Climate-KIC and partners reassess our values in the ‘new normal’
In our community
Water scarcity in Southern Europe: Climate expert insights
Water scarcity in Southern Europe: Climate expert insights
Opinion
Who’s doing what: A news round-up of selected COVID-19 responses and recovery plans
Felicity Spors Head of International Affairs, EIT Climate-KIC
Who’s doing what: A news round-up of selected COVID-19 responses and recovery plans
In The News
Co-Action carbon capture project opens new field plots

Yesterday, EIT Climate-KIC community member ‘Co-Action,’ a carbon capture...

Co-Action carbon capture project opens new field plots
In Detail
Implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for global sustainable finance: An int...

The UN Environment convened Financial Centres for Sustainability (FC4S) recently published a working paper, supported by EIT Climate-KIC, on the implications of the COVID-19...

Implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for global sustainable finance: An internal framework for response strategies
In Detail
A cartoonathon: Using humour to drive insights

Last week, in an event supported by EIT Climate-KIC, over 150 participants from more than 60 countries took part in a virtual ‘cartoonathon’ to...

A cartoonathon: Using humour to drive insights
In The News
EIT Climate-KIC launches Call for Proposals to support post-COVID-19 green rec...

EIT Climate-KIC’s ‘Extraordinary Post COVID-19 Regeneration Call 2020’ will...

EIT Climate-KIC launches Call for Proposals to support post-COVID-19 green recovery
Opinion
COVID-19 responses and recovery plans—the good news and the bad news
Felicity Spors Head of International Affairs, EIT Climate-KIC
COVID-19 responses and recovery plans—the good news and the bad news
Innovation Spotlight
How to engage citizens in a just transformation process

With climate change, we are facing one of the biggest challenges of our lifetime – one that...

How to engage citizens in a just transformation process