Part II – Policy Lab with stakeholders: what has been unearthed?

How can we make sure that the transition towards a circular economy in Europe is as effective as possible? How do we ensure that this transition will also be a just process throughout all the member states of the EU? 

Our Policy Lab is one way of ensuring the matter!

The week after our first workshop session for Regions, Veltha invited private stakeholders such as researchers, consultants, associations etc. to discuss the issues presented by the regional officers the week prior. 

Together with Regions and stakeholders, the Policy Lab fosters sustainable policies that will have an important impact on how we implement and establish our circular economy system in European politics. The Policy Lab functions as not only an important tool for long-term policy-making but also as direct effect of sharing the difficulties and successful solutions experienced every day around the EU. The workshop session held last Friday, 26th of March, was not an exception to this.

Let’s speak a common language:

The stakeholders responded to the urgent need stressed by the Regions concerning the lack of knowledge of circular economy, by proposing a clearer definition and establishing a common language for CE. Meaning a broader understanding of the concept of CE, but also to easily establish what it includes and how to define its issues and solutions. An easier classification of CE will also enhance the communication and coordination between public and private actors. 

The role of academia:

The Regions persistently emphasised that our understanding of circular economy must continually be updated and connected to the field of academia. Regions cannot only be collaborative with bigger and smaller companies or entrepreneurs, but also include the universities and experts, to share and formulate today’s issues. Our session with the stakeholders answered the matter by proposing three different aspects of how to tackle these issues.

  • First of all with the lack of understanding for the concept at this stage, means that before tools and frameworks for circularity in the Regions can be determined and developed, we need to start the capacity building process. The spreading of knowledge must be distributed to local authorities with help on European level, for enhancing and expanding the knowledge not only within but also between Regions and universities. 
  • Second, having a key figure in each Region for coordination with both public and private actors can lead to a faster process of distributing the substantial knowledge needed in each Region. However, this is easier said than done, due to the fact that first of all – finding the adequate person for the position, and also determining whether this is suited for one person instead of an institution or department is a challenging task. It is important that the coordination position does not submit all understanding of circular economy to one person. There is still an urgent need to coordinate not only in governance levels but also between the departments and districts of each Region/State. It is not effective to have one person holding all the knowledge about CE, it should rather be a matter of everyone’s competence and understanding. 
  • Third, giving funds to entrepreneurs that are sort of “self-made”, they are the go-to person of each region and they have already taken a leading role in the CE field without anyone telling them to do so. Giving money and relevance to these entrepreneurs can enhance the transition process for not only them, but for everyone in the Region. Another perspective is to redirect public procurements to “circular procurements”, if local authorities understand the need of having innovation in circularity in each Region. 

The two sessions held could only be proof of how the circular economy topic must be included in a broader scale and perspective. We cannot leave any actors or partners outside the solution-making. Everyone has their own role and part to play in the future development for a circular Europe.

For our remaining two Policy Lab sessions in April and May, we will continually try to formulate and define our possible solutions and finally foster sustainable policies to get closer and closer to our ultimate goal:

Be ready for the future we are shaping!

Thank you all for participating to the lab!

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