WS17 Resource efficiency and the circular economy: policy mixes and scenarios


· Workshop Organiser: UCL – University College London

· Workshop Chair: Prof. Paul Ekins

· Date and Time: Wednesday 14, 08h00 – 09h50

· Room: Sertig

· Description: 

Summary: This workshop is located right in the centre of WRF’s Circular Economy and Decoupling theme. It brings together insights on this topic from two nearly-complete European Framework 7 projects – DYNAMIX and POLFREE – which both have been taking a complementary approach to the question of which policy mixes could make the European economy more resource efficient, and obviously decoupling and promoting a circular economy are important parts to the answer to that question.

Goal: The goal of this workshop is to present and discuss policies and their potential effectiveness for achieving radical improvements in resource efficiency in Europe by 2050, focusing on the promotion of a circular economy and absolute decoupling of resource use and environmental impact from economic activity. Target audience: Policy makers, businesses, scientists and NGOs

Background: The twin, and obviously related, ideas of decoupling and the circular economy have achieved a certain profile in policy discourse, due to, inter alia, the work on resource efficiency in the last European Commission, the championing of the circular economy by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the last Commission’s Circular Economy Package, and the withdrawal of this Package by the present Commission, in favour of a ‘more ambitious approach’, and the reports on decoupling by UNEP’s International Resource Panel. This is a very propitious time, therefore, to be presenting the results of two EU projects on this theme – DYNAMIX (Decoupling growth from resource use and environmental impacts) and POLFREE (Policy Options for a Resource-Efficient Economy) – that have designed and evaluated the potential impact of promising policy mixes to foster decoupling and move towards a circular economy.

The session: The workshop will choose two big themes that reflect the work of both DYNAMIX and POLFREE. Each theme will be presented by a researcher from each project, and there will be an external discussant to lead off the discussion. Each theme will take 70 mins. (10 mins. max each project presentation, 5 mins. after each for questions of clarification, 5 mins. discussant overall, and 35 mins. discussion). This is a realistic minimum to get into depth on these topics and both present the results from the projects and have substantial discussion of them. This set-up, including a further 5 min. intro and 5 min. concluding section, is the reason we are requesting a workshop length of 2.5 rather than 2 hours.

A preliminary identification of themes is:

A) Policy mixes for resource efficiency and the circular economy x Both projects have done detailed work on policy mixes, applied to various sectors of activity. The results of this research will be presented in this session that will also address issues of policy coherence and feasibility

B) Scenarios for resource efficiency and modelling outcomes: x Both projects have undertaken model simulation runs with different model types, providing findings on potential economic and social benefits for Europe.
In this session we will discuss what a resource-efficient EU economy might look like in 2050. Based on our advanced modeling work we will present the potential environmental, economic and social benefits as suggested by model simulations of the policy mixes proposed. This will be complemented with the presentation of scenarios that describe different pathways to a resource efficient economy in 2050.

POLFREE has generated some large mural posters to aid this visualisation, which will be presented
DYNAMIX has developed cornerstone scenarios for plausible future worlds in 2050.

· Program: 

08:00 – 08:05    Welcome and brief introduction by the session chair – Prof. Paul Ekins

08:05 – 08:20     Understanding why resources are used inefficiently: the web of constraints to resource efficiency – Dr Marc Dijk. PRESENTATION

08:20 – 08:40     Policy packaging in support of resource efficiency and absolute decoupling: a conceptual model – Dr Martin Hirschnitz-Garbers and Christian Hudson. PRESENTATION

08:40-08:45       Policies for absolute decoupling: Dynamic policy mix for efficient use of metals and other material resources – Ekvall, Tomas. PRESENTATION

08:45-09:00       Q&A session

09:00-09:20       What policies are necessary for achieving a resource efficient economy in Europe in 2050: Modelling results – Martin Distelkamp. PRESENTATION  

09:20-09:30       What the modeling tell us about policies for resource efficiency: Reflections on modeling approaches and results – Prof. Paul Ekins.

09:30-09:50       Q&A session and discussion of results – Moderated by Prof Paul Ekins and Dr Martin Hirschnitz-Garbers