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  • 2018 has been an action-packed year for the Circular Economy Club (CEC).

    Internally—thanks to the steady and passionate engagement of the CEC Members and volunteers—the club has seen outstanding growth in terms of membership and development. Over the past 12 months, a few CEC highlights include:

    • World's largest open-source circular economy database: During the Circular Economy Mapping Week, CEC Organizers in 65 cities brought together a total of 2,100 participants who mapped 3,000 circular economy initiatives worldwide. As an output of the mapping week, the CEC launched the largest open-source database in the field, designed to help circular economy advocates learn what is already being done and better coordinate efforts on a global scale. 
    • New online tools for contacting with members and creating your listings: Our new online home is designed to better connect users with circular enthusiasts and organizations, events, job offers, funding possibilities, courses, resources, collaboration and expert guidance. Watch out for the next developments as we improve the platform to better help identify the best and most impactful circular solutions worldwide.
    • Nominee/finalist/winner of multiple awards: The CEC was either a nominee or award winner for multiple awards. These included: Global Game Changers (finalist); edie Sustainability Leaders Awards (finalist); and the United Nations SDG Action Awards (finalist). Additionally, we had the honor to be handed the “Youth Award” (organized by the Ibero-American Secretaria and the Ibero-American International Youth Organization), given in the hands of the Spanish Prime Minister.
    • 40 CEC Mentors gave advice to +130 projects: We are fortunate to have 40 impressive experts in our Mentors Program who helped +130 circular economy young researchers and entrepreneurs. This year, we are proud and grateful to have added two truly transformative figures to the CEC mentorship family: Prof. Walter R. Stahel and Prof. Dr. Michael Braungart. As I’m sure you know, Prof. Stahel and Prof. Braungart are considered “founding fathers” of the circular economy movement, and we did two competitions to identify the best circular projects to receive the mentoring of Prof. Stahel and Prof. Braungart. To say we were honored for this contribution is an understatement.
    • Top experts join CEC Advisory Committee: We recently formed the CEC Advisory Committee to help implement our strategic plans and capitalize on future growth opportunities. Among other responsibilities, the committee will provide governance counsel and strategic oversight of the club’s main programs. We are delighted to have on the Committee three experts in the circular economy movement: Isabelle Laurencin, Managing Director of Plug and Play Netherlands; Jamie Butterworth, Founding Partner of Circularity Capital and former CEO of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation; and Prasad Modak, President of Environmental Management Centre.
    • 140 CEC Organizers worldwide: The CEC Organizers are voluntarily bringing circularity to their cities, universities, hubs and companies. They are the local leaders dedicated to bringing together stakeholders to define their local circular economy strategies, to embed circular economy in the curriculum and to transmit the business case to companies.

     

    Circular inspiration from 2018

    While the news of late is, undoubtedly, dire regarding climate change forecasts, rest assured: the circular economy movement is growing. Now, more than ever, it’s up to us to show that circularity is an opportunity.

    This past year has also seen an increase in the momentum surround the circular economy in general. To help keep track, we’ve included a few circularity highlights from 2018 in the following roundup. The list is not meant to be exhaustive, but rather inspirational.

     

    Corporations: 

    • Unilever committed to making sure all of the company’s plastic packaging would be designed to be fully reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025. In October 2018, Unilever and Veolia signed an agreement to work together on creating a circular economy for plastics starting in India and Indonesia. Under the three-year partnership, both companies plan to focus on material collection and moving recycled content back into the value chain (source: Environmental Leader).

    Research: 

    This year, the American economist William Nordhaus won the Nobel Prize for integrating climate change into macroeconomic analysis. William Nordhaus is an American economist and Professor of Economics at Yale University. His research proposes placing taxes on carbon emissions so that high-polluting entities are forced to adopt more sustainable manufacturing practices to stay competitive. Throughout his career, he made a profound contribution towards broadening by shedding light on the consequences of how unintended externalities influence economic growth and wellbeing.

     

    Startups: 

    Winnow: Kitchens using Winnow analyse exactly what they’re putting in their bins. Their data solution provides chefs with the information necessary to drive improvements in their processes and cut food waste by 50% on average. Winnow’s offices are located in the United Kingdom, Singapore, Dubai and Shanghai, and their clients include Ikea, Compass Group, Costa Cruises, IHG and Sofitel.

     

    Stuffstr: the solution captures detailed purchase and product information directly from retailers, keeps consumers continually aware of the current resale value of every item, and lets consumers capture that value at the touch of a button.

     

    Public Policy: 

    EU - Ecodesign Directive: On May 31st, 2018,  the European Parliament voted in favour of measures to make consumer goods, like TVs and other home appliances, longer lasting and repairable. In its "Ecodesign Directive" resolution, the European Parliament stressed the importance to set up of minimum resource efficiency criteria covering, inter alia, durability, robustness, reparability and upgradability, but also sharing potential, reuse, scalability, recyclability, possibility of remanufacturing, content of recycled or secondary raw materials, and the use of critical raw materials. The report argues that better product design is necessary to transition to a circular economy, where waste is prevented, and to meet the agreed national targets to curb CO2 emissions.

     

    Circular Economy national and local strategies and route maps: Countries worldwide are releasing circular economy strategies include China, Finland, Italy, Portugal, Scotland, Slovenia, Spain, The Netherlands. Rwanda, Nigeria and South Africa launched the African Circular Economy Alliance. Chile recently released an Innovation Award program. Cities launching route maps include Brussels, London, Paris, Phoenix and Taipei.

     

    Nonprofits: 

    Plastic Bank: is creating a marketplace for plastic with social and environmental impact in areas with high levels of poverty and plastic pollution by turning plastic waste into a currency. The TED Talk by their Founder and CEO, David Katz, is a must watch.

    We hope these examples motivate you to keep pushing, and we thank you for being a part of this important shift. Your work and support is a constant source of inspiration and we at the CEC team look forward to what the future brings. Enjoy your holidays. Onward!