SS16: Circular Economy and decoupling

Time: Wednesday, 14 October 2015 (12:00 – 13:50)

Location: Dischma

Session Chair: Dr. Cornis Van der Lugt, Centre for Corporate Governance in Africa, Stellenbosch University Business School, South Africa

Session Chair: Dr. Nick Harley Florin, University of Technology Sydney, Australia


Estimating critical extraction rates for the main metals for a sustainable society within the planetary limits

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 critical rates of extraction of some metals was explored using a methodology based on the thinking behind critical loads for sulphur and nitrogen deposition developed in Europe 1990-2010. With a long term sustainability view in mind, critical rates based on 5,000 and 10,000 years were estimated and found to widely exceed the present extraction rates. Huge advances in recycling, as well as a significant contraction of metal demand would be required to reach no exceedence of the critical rates.


Modelling the global primary extraction, supply, price and depletion of the extractable geological resources using the COBALT model

Deniz Koca2, Harald Ulrik Sverdrup1, Kristin Vala Ragnarsdottir

1Industrial engineering, University of Iceland, Iceland; 2Earth Sciences, University of Iceland, Iceland

The global supply of cobalt was simulated by combining 3 different system dynamics models; BRONZE, PGM and STEEL. The present use of cobalt shows a low degree of recycling and systemic losses are significant. The reserves of cobalt are not very large (20-25 million ton extractable) as compared to metals like copper, zinc or iron, and after 2170 cobalt will have run out under a business-as-usual scenario. The present business-as-usual for cobalt use in society is in no way sustainable.


Closing the Loop in the Automotive Sector in India: The Role of End-of-life Vehicles

Uwe Becker, Rachna Arora, Manjeet Sigh Saluja, Abhijit Banerjee

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, India

India’s rapid economic growth has made it one of the largest consumers of materials in the world with consequences for the environment and economy as demand increases further in future. The fast growing automotive sector is one of the most resource intensive with high potential for future growth. Reusing material from end-of-life vehicles (ELVs) in the production chain can significantly benefit the resource needs of the sector. This study was conducted in cooperation between GIZ, Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), and the NGO Chintan to gain a better understanding of the conditions of this sector in India and the challenges faced by it. The study carried out detailed surveys in six major automotive hubs across India interviewing a wide range of stakeholders. ELV recycling is carried out mostly in the informal sector in India and the sector consequently faces a range of problems including lack of space, poor environmental performance and working conditions, lack of access to finance, technology and capacity development. Rapidly changing technology and manufacturing standards used by vehicle manufacturers in recent years has become a challenge for the ELV sector due to limited capacity for upgrading. All stakeholders of the ELV sector are eager to move towards formalisation, which is seen as instrumental to achieve higher environmental and material efficiency standards. Legislative and regulatory void, including the absence of a systematic procedure for licensing ELVs, is the primary reason for poor performance of the sector. Based on this study, a clear regulatory mechanism and a supportive policy framework is recommended for rejuvenation of the ELV sector in India.


Policy packaging in support of absolute decoupling– a conceptual model

Martin Hirschnitz-Garbers, Susanne Langsdorf, Christian Hudson

Ecologic Institute, Germany

Global resource consumption has seen marked increases in the last century, in particular since the 1950s. In transforming these materials into products, food, infrastructure and energy functions for mobility and housing, significant environmental impacts are generated: ecosystems becomes ever more degraded, some 50 GtCO2e are emitted annually, and the global ecological footprint of human activities already requires more than 1.4 planet Earths. Through systematic literature review, we identified a number of relevant drivers that lock unsustainable resource use in at European and global level, such as: – consumption-based lifestyles (linked to social norms, increasing advertising efforts and rising aspirations) – short-term product and consumption cycles fuelling a take-make-dispose mentality – infrastructure design and planning locking in fossil fuel based structures and mobility decisions – volatile resource prices, which are (still) mostly ignorant of the true external costs of the resources’ use We need to improve our understanding of the complex linkages between different trends and drivers in order to enable forward-looking decision-making. This requires thinking in terms of policy mixes, i.e. combining different policy measures, targeting different or the same trends and drivers. As knowledge on policy packaging is only starting to build up, we will develop a conceptualisation for resource policy packaging and roadmapping. This conceptualisation will have to take into account a) the need to investigate and mitigate potential negative consequences of policy measures aiming at achieving main environmental objectives. b) A time-dynamic roadmapping of policies, i.e. policy instruments packed in chronological order allowing for a transition pathway towards more ambitious resource policies. We will present the conceptual model for policy mixing, learning from the results of ongoing qualitative and quantitative ex-ante assessment of policy mixes, which will be completed until November 2015 in ongoing FP7-research (DYNAMIX,


The climate impacts of feebate on cars in future scenarios

Rafael Laurenti1, David Palm2, Tomas Ekvall1
1IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute, Sweden; 2Ramböll Sverige AB, Sweden

The ongoing EU FP7 project DYNAMIX aims to develop and assess dynamic policy mixes that achieve absolute decoupling between resource use and well-being. One of the policy instruments we assess is a feebate scheme for selected product categories. This instrument combines a fee for the environmentally worst products in the category and an economic incentive to choose the best products. France has such an instrument for cars.

We modelled the carbon footprint of the future European car fleet with and without an effective, EU-wide feebate scheme. The calculations were carried through in the context of the different background scenarios developed in the DYNAMIX project. These scenarios are based on different assumptions on the future rate of innovation and the degree of materialism in the economy. In a materialistic society with a high rate of innovation, the feebate system is likely to affect the share of electric cars rather than the size of the car. In a non-materialistic society with a low rate of innovation, the feebate system is likely to affect mainly the size of the car. In a non-materialistic society with a high rate of innovation, the feebate system is likely to affect both the size and the technology of the car.

Using different assumptions on the future European electricity system, the calculation results indicate that a shift to electric cars, or other technological improvements, is more important for the climate than a shift to smaller cars.