SS14: Circular Economy and decoupling

Time: Wednesday, 14 October 2015 (8:00 – 9:50)

Location: Dischma

Session Chair: Dr. Franz Georg Simon, BAM Federal Insitut for Materials Research, Germany

Session Chair: Dr. Michal Miedzinski, Technopolis Group, Belgium


Wood products as resource-saving circulary products

Nikolaus Lienbacher

Ressourcen Forum Austria, Austria

It all starts with sustainable forest management which has been practiced in Austria for centuries. Active forest management and tending strategies require forests with a wide range of species and structures. Such well-structured forests fare better in the face of climate change conditions than those left to their own devices. From trees in the forest to the product cycle of wood as a construction material, wood in form of paper and the recycling of residues, followed by the thermal utilisation at the end of the cycle, wood is an unique sustainable material. The use of bark and by-products for energy purposes in the wood, wood panelling and paper industry is globally regarded as ‘best practice’ and improves the national climate balance enormously. The various forms of use are based on a highly complex cycle of timber in which combined production and cascading use play key roles within the value chain. At the end of the product lifecycle, recycling of wood enables further binding of CO2 in products. The wood composite industry can make a positive contribution in achieving a positive CO2-balance through the repeated material use of wood waste in addition to the significant effect of using fresh wood. Keywords: Cascading, Cycle of timber, Forest Management, Recycling References FHP, Commitment to cascading use across the value chain at forest based industries (2014) Republic of Austria, Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management (2008), Austrian Forest Report (2008) 9-11 RiskRe, Economica, Boku Wien, i.A. Ressourcen Forum Austria (2015), Potentiale von NAWAROS im Forst- und Holzsektor


How the energy budget scheme contributes to decoupling and deep decarbonisation

Klara Hajdu1, Veronika Kiss2

1CEEweb for Biodiversity, Hungary; 2Corvinus University of Budapest, Hungary

Resource use is increasing globally, and four of nine planetary boundaries have now been crossed due human activities, out of which climate change and biosphere integrity are “core boundaries”, implying a risk of driving the Earth system into a new state. While technological advances, policy changes and burden shifting from developed to developing countries have led to decoupling in many countries, this does not change the negative trends globally and address the main drivers behind. In the case of climate change deep decarbonisation of the global economy would be required resulting in radical emissions reductions. The objective of this paper is to analyse the main reasons of the rift between what climate science requires and what current climate policies can deliver with the currently applied policies, and how an international energy budget scheme can tackle these problems. The energy budget scheme builds on initiatives like the energy entitlement scheme and the Tradable Energy Quotas (TEQs), which gained considerable political recognition in Hungary and in the UK respectively, building on substantial scientific research. The energy budget scheme puts a hard cap on energy use, and links this with incentive schemes to deliver tightening national and international targets. The annual entitlements for energy use for households and all other public and private consumers ensure the needed reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, while the trade in entitlements among consumers on national level and countries on international level contributes to value change, global energy transition and puts Common but Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR) into practice. The transition fund provides a financing scheme for driving investment and technological innovation, where the payback rate is linked to improvements in decarbonisation and made through unused entitlements. The dedicated market for environmental products and services operates with quota currency realised from entitlement savings, and boosts the green economy.


Decoupling of economic growth and environmental impacts in Germany

Michael Lettenmeier1,2,3, Iina Heikkilä2,4

1Aalto University, Finland; 2D-mat ltd., Finland; 3Wuppertal Institute, Germany; 4Helsinki University, Finland

The paper highlights in which regard economic growth has been decoupled from environmental impacts in Germany. It is based on extensive desk research and six expert interviews. The answer to the question if Germany can serve as an example for successful and absolute decoupling is not unambiguous. Germany has succeeded in stopping the growth of material and energy use. However, absolute decoupling is happening only when natural resource use and other environmental impacts are decreasing in absolute terms. This has, so far, not happened to natural resource use in general but only to specific emissions that can be regulated by technical means. Total Material Requirement and Total Material Consumption (TMR and TMC), as well as carbon footprint and ecological footprint have not increased nor decreased during this century in Germany. Water footprint and land use for food production have increased, as well as domestic land use for infrastructure and settlements, and biodiversity decline. Absolute decoupling, i.e. the constant decrease of environmental impacts while the economy is growing, could not be stated for any indicator that takes into account also the environmental impacts of imports. However, the development within Germany’s borders cannot be considered sufficient while both economy and material flows are subject of constant globalisation. As a conclusion, general absolute decoupling cannot yet been found in Germany. However, Germany has been politically active in decreasing natural resource use and other environmental impacts. This is visible, for instance, in strongly increasing activities of states and companies in the field of resource efficiency. However, so far we are not yet able to claim general evidence that economic growth generally could be decoupled from resource use and other environmental impacts when potential burden-shifting through imported goods is taken into account.


Modelling the copper, zinc and lead mining rates and co-extraction of dependent metals, supply, price and extractable amounts using the BRONZE model

Harald Ulrik Sverdrup1, Kristin Vala Ragnarsdottir2, Deniz Koca3

1Industrial Engineering, University of Iceland, Iceland; 2Earth Sciences, University of Iceland, Iceland; 3Centre for Climate and Environmental Research, Lund University, Sweden

The total resources form copper, zinc and lead was estimated from a reworking of the literature. The data was used as input to the integrated systems dynamics model BRONZE, and used to estimate the global supply of these metals and the by-products antimony, indium, germanium, tellurium, cadmium, bismuth and selenium. The runs show that copper, zinc and lead go through peak production around 2050 and declines as the resources run out some time after 2100, and with them the metals produced as by products become unavailable.


Sustainable Industrial Areas: The Place for Circular Economy

Detlef Wolfgang Schreiber, Katrin Gothmann, Philip Jain

GIZ, Germany

For many emerging economies the creation of economic zones and industrial areas constitute a cornerstone of their industrialization strategies. Hundreds of them are planned right now. They could become the breeding ground for circular economy. However, creating successful industrial networks which use resources in a highly efficient way is an enormous management task. Companies need to communicate with each other in a new manner, exchanging information about material flows, previously considered confidential. The proximity of distinctive resource providers and recipients becomes more relevant. Currently, the management of these industrial zones is in most cases unable to coordinate exchange between companies; even less the planned location of enterprises necessary to establish industrial symbiosis. In many parts of the world industrial areas are dirty places with crumbling infrastructure, environmental pollution and inadequate working conditions. Yet this is where large parts of the world’s production take place. Before these industries become hotbeds for circular economy fundamental Services must be implemented. As service provider for Technical Cooperation with developing countries and emerging economies, GIZ gives advice on planning and operation of sustainable industrial areas with special regard to circular economy. Practical work includes planning of new industrial areas, upgrading of existing ones as well as advice to governments on suitable framework conditions, standards and incentives. Experience of Technical Cooperation indicates that industrial areas must be managed by service-oriented companies or administrative units, which have more duties than selling plots of land and providing basic infrastructure. They must provide well-planned infrastructure, control compliance with environmental regulations, care for social facilities and exchange with local communities. In order to enhance circular economy, the management unit of an industrial area must act as facilitators of material flows between companies. Our thesis is therefore “Well-managed industrial areas are a success factor for Circular Economy”.