How to create a bio-based circular economy – From political goals to actions across cities and industries by the Chair of Societal Transition & Circular Economy at the University of Freiburg

How do European bio-based industries react to circular economy policies?In the context of climate change and resource scarcity, the circular economy is a prominent concept among political discourses, with a particular emphasis on bio-based systems. However, the assumption that a circular bioeconomy is the best way of approaching sustainable development needs to be revised based on scientific evidence. Not only do we need to understand how decision makers conceive and put this idea into practice, but we also need to ensure that strategies do not compromise sustainability in its different forms. In this context, the “Circulus” Team aims to answer the following questions:

  1. What strategies do cities and industries pursue to close product and material cycles and lower their use of renewable resources?
  2. How do cities and industries identify the most sustainable solutions? What do we know about the environmental impacts of existing initiatives and how can science support these decisions?
  3. What do we know about the political priorities and preferences of decision makers in Europe and China?

This workshop will provide facts and answers to these questions. At the same time, we will discuss them with you in an interactive format. The goal of the workshop is twofold: (1) to critically evaluate our results and (2) to develop proposals for policy and action.

To do so, the research team “Circulus” will present its results in short presentations prior to initiating an open dialogue with you and other invited experts from the fields of circular economy and bioeconomy. This will provide an opportunity to exchange about innovative approaches and initiatives for a bio-based circular economy with other experts from industry, science and civil society.

          Schedule (8:30-10:00)

8:30  3 min Introduction – Sina Leipold
8:35 15 min Presentation – Hanna Helander & Machteld Simoens (example Germany)
8:50 10 min Discussion (2 tables: enablers & barriers for political prioritization)
9:05 10 min Plenum (present results) + documentation
9:15 10 min Presentation – Anran Luo
9:25 10 min discussion (2 tables: globalization as barrier & enabler)
9:40 10 min Plenum (present results)
9:50 10 min Summary and closure