SS11: Circular Economy and decoupling

Time: Tuesday, 13 October 2015 (16:30 – 18:20)

Location: Dischma

Session Chair: Prof. Helga Weisz, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), Germany

Session Chair: Dr. Cecilia Matasci, World Resources Forum, Switzerland


Towards responsible prosperity: progressing a circular economy in Australia

Elsa Dominish, Nick Florin, Damien Giurco

Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney

In China, Japan and Europe circular economy concepts are being adopted as a mechanism for utilising resources to support long term economic, social and environmental benefit. Australia’s unique economic environment will affect the way circular economy concepts are implemented to build responsible prosperity. To date, the circular economy concept is yet to achieve a transformative effect and a new local narrative is needed to promote the benefits in the context of the current economic circumstances, as an extractive economy. Based on a review of international initiatives and discussion with stakeholders, the key enabling factors for progressing circular economy in Australia have been prioritised. Awareness raising and building networks were identified as most achievable to create change in the short-term and strong policies including regulations and targets, alongside innovation in business models, were identified as having the most impact. A coordinated and collaborative effort across all sectors and stakeholders will be required to successfully progress circular economy in Australia.


Innovation in finance to unlock the full potential of a circular economy

Markus Zils

Returnity Partners, Germany

The structural shift towards a circular economy will result as well as require shifts in determining the value of stock of resources, components and materials and the resulting management of these values in the financial system. In a linear economic model relying on a take–‐make–‐dispose value chain the value of resources is first increased (largely driven by demand–‐supply market mechanisms and adding the additional value–‐add for extraction, refinement and commercialization of resources) and then after integration into the final component and or product unit of usage/consumption rapidly depreciated, sometimes towards a negative value (i.e. the cost of disposal). In a circular economy model relying on different forms of reuse the value of resources is likely to remain high for longer (or even increase over time) as after each usage cycle the products, components and their embedded resources exhibit (a market price) as input for further value adding activities. In addition to this fundamental revalorization of resources along their value chain/cycle in a circular economy a number of other underlying concepts and practices with profound impact on the financial management are likely to change (e.g. the establishment of registers of resources/products will create collateral to de–‐risk lending, the increase in performance based contracts will require funding of more working capital, the shift in the distribution of value adding activities along the value chain/cycle will require re–‐balancing the underlying capital asset base, the transition towards a more circular economy will require new investments and open up alternative funding and revenue streams, ….). The objective of this paper is to identify the most likely and most relevant discontinuities in the financial management of resources for companies and institutions as the shift towards a circular economy unfolds.


Cradle to Cradle® – Parquet for Generations

Reinhold Herkströter1, Kälin Albin2

1Bauwerk Boen Group, Switzerland; 2EPEA Switzerland GmbH

Working with wood means assuming a responsibility. Wood is the most important naturally re-growing raw material and it is considered to be the construction material of the future. However treated with chemicals (adhesives, lacquers) the resource wood becomes waste. Having adopted a new technology under the name of “Silente”, Bauwerk Parquet, based in Switzerland, is breaking new grounds. Silente products follow the Cradle to Cradle® design principle. Cradle to Cradle® stands for a closed raw material cycle and a respective quality assurance process. Bauwerk parquet is designed to last. It should never become a waste product or consume unnecessary or environmentally harmful energy. Raw materials are preserved and the resource water is treated with consideration. Bauwerk acts in a fair and socially responsible manner, both within the company and in public. EPEA Switzerland is assisting Bauwerk in its implementation of the Cradle to Cradle® vision. Raw materials and ingredients from up to 36 suppliers are assessed on material health, reutilization, environmental impact and traced back to their origins. The “Silente” Bauwerk Parquet products are Cradle to Cradle Certified™ at GOLD level. Bauwerk floors that incorporate the new Silente technology can easily be dismantled and returned to the company. Thanks to the new “Silente-Mat”, the parquet can be taken up without being destroyed. All components can be either reconditioned or recycled for new products. Bauwerk products that incorporate the Silente technology are made exclusively from materials that are safe for both humans and the environment. Thanks to this closed cycle, Bauwerk conserves the valuable resource wood and acts in the interest of future generations. • The use of healthy, non-hazardous materials • The subsequent use of all materials in a closed cycle • The validation of renewable energy • Environmentally compatible water management • Social responsibility


Towards companies that perform within the earth’s regenerative capacity

Annemarie Kerkhof1, Jeroen Scheepmaker1, Gerben Meijer2, Elmer De Boer2, Kornelis Blok1

1Ecofys, Kanaalweg 15-G, 3526 KL, Utrecht, the Netherlands; 2Eneco, Marten Meesweg 5, 3068 AV, Rotterdam, the Netherlands

The latest Living Planet Report of WWF shows that we used the regenerative capacity of 1.5 planets in 2010 at present consumption levels. An increasing number of companies set targets to lower the impact of their activities on the environment, but such targets do not inform if the company performs within the limits of the earth’s regenerative capacity. Inspired by the concept of planetary boundaries of Rockström et al. (2009), we aim to link corporate activities to global, regional and local boundaries. In this paper we introduce a methodological framework in which we link midpoint indicators of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to scientifically established boundaries at global, regional and local level. The methodological framework consists of three steps: 1) quantify environmental impacts at product level, 2) define scientific boundaries at global, regional and local level and 3) set targets at sector and product level. The methodological framework has been applied to Eneco, an energy company in the Netherlands striving for sustainable energy for everyone, to set targets for climate change (within the 2 degrees pathway) and particulate matter (below the WHO concentration target) in their power generation and supply. The methodological framework should be seen as a first step towards absolute boundary setting for companies.


Urban Metabolism as framework for Circular economy design for cities

Yuliya Kalmykova, Leonardo Rosado

Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden

Circular economy (CE) principles can be applied at different scales: from materials to products, from individual supply chains to industries, from cities to national and transnational economies. In order to design a CE at any scale, a system approach is needed to describe and analyse the current situation and to model and implement the transformations required. In this paper we show how Urban Metabolism (UM) research can support the design of CE in cities. Urban metabolism considers resource consumption and environmental pressure of urban areas in a systemic way. The Urban Metabolism Group at Chalmers is developing three alleys of research: UM description, analysis and sustainable UM design. Findings from each of these may inform CE design by for example: quantifying resource flows at the product and material levels and with respect to industries and other sectors using them; identifying possible links between stakeholders with suitable materials and infrastructures; connecting material flows with life cycle impacts for multidimensional priority setting; depicting the drivers of material flows; and modelling policy effects on material flows. In this way, urban metabolism research can provide a comprehensive framework to investigate the pathways to circularity at both the urban and regional level.