We are now too close to the planetary boundaries around us.
The climate change, critical raw materials, plastics in oceans and toxicity are just a few examples of the great challenges the world is confronting. Just recently, the Intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) released their report on the impacts of global warming and the needed actions to prevent the threats of climate change (IPCC 2018).
A paradigm change has to be taken in our current way of living, producing and consuming, and a transition towards a circular economy is seen as the main strategy to such a change.
Regions are the only players that can guarantee an actual transition to a circular economy, because at regional level resources are consumed and waste is produced, SMEs and Industry work and use the available financial instruments, products and services influence and are influenced by the consumers’ behaviour.
#CircularRegions, therefore, have an impact where circular economy “happens” in practice and where needs and research gaps can better and faster be identified; they can strongly support the creation of new local and cross-regional circular economy value chains with enough critical mass to enable decoupling the environmental effects from the economic growth.
However, regions may also run up against different kind of difficulties and barriers.
Empowering locally-led development strategies may allow local, urban and territorial authorities to be more involved in the management of EU funds, thus aligning the circular economy ecosystem more closely to national and European policymakers, by shortcutting the bidirectional information flow and accelerating the process.
Time is a key factor for the environmental problems we have to face, the current crisis and the need for growth and new jobs.
A bottom-up approach at local and regional level can accelerate the transition from research to innovation and then to the production and consumption system.
The only viable approach to get a circular Europe is to build a Europe made by Circular Regions.