We are pleased to announce that Veltha has issued the second publication of the Policy-lab 2.0 and it is now fully available online.

A short reminder of what the Policy Lab represents

The Policy Lab 2.0 sets itself as a follow-up project of the first version of the Policy Lab (SCREEN Lab from the H2020 SCREEN project), introduced in 2016 to enable EU-level and regional policymakers to mutually discuss the proposals developed between circular economy projects, address any arising issues, and explore possible scenarios to co-design solutions for better policies.

After the EU adoption in March 2020 of the new Circular Economy Action Plan “For a cleaner and more competitive Europe”, Veltha decided to set up the Policy Lab 2.0 “Policy Lab for a Europe made by Circular Regions (SCREEN-Lab)“, a think-tank operating on a free platform, launched with the ambitious goal of providing solutions to the challenges the European Regions face while implementing circular economy programs.

Let’s zoom into the second outcome

In February 2021, we published the first outcome of the Policy Lab 2.0 where the creation of a standard set of criteria on how to adapt circularity in the Regions, the need for circular economy experts and for companies inclined to include circularity in their strategies, were the main challenges in the spotlight. 

The second round of the SCREEN Policy lab meetings, held in the period March-May 2021 and attended by officers coming from 17 EU regions, led to the publication of the second outcome of the Policy Lab 2.0, which focuses on the needs of European regions for a smooth transition towards a circular economy. In this publication, the key issues surrounding the progress of the circular economy in each region and country, are still the elements of expertise, data, capacity building, and the role of the private sector and its collaboration with local authorities. 

More specifically, this publication provides detailed insights into the three main workshops organized during the 3-month session: 

The first workshop was targeted at regional officers and started with charting the existence and effectiveness of possible current or missing tools being used in European Regions. They classified the regions into two categories: 

  • Regions experiencing less: the willingness and practicing of circular economy call for someone to coordinate public or private actors willing to work with circularity methods.
  • Regions that have progressed further – with actual practices functioning and with supporters within the regional officers and private sector – argue that one key coordinator or team is not enough. Without the support of a framework designed by all departments in the regional office, the shift towards a circular economy will be substantially delayed. 

Additional topics fuelling the discussion orbited around the role of the private sector, the role of the experts and academia and the importance of a coordinated effort by the local authorities to assist the private stakeholders. More in detail, the inclusion of the larger companies and SMEs in local communities is pivotal in guaranteeing that the transition encloses the region on every level. At the research level, before developing tools, a baseline of research, identification and evidence of potential areas of improvement is essential. In this regard, Regions express an essential trust in a close cooperation with experts and academia. Finally, having a key figure in each region for a coordination between public and private actors will enhance and ease the transition for all the actors involved.

During the second workshop, the discussion with regional officers and private stakeholders mainly dwelled upon how a specific office/service should be structured and what kind of data the regions require. The approaches mainly swang between the need to have a dedicated department or specialist that could coordinate the CE-related information stream or, in turn, the importance of having different departments and actors responsible for the circular economy action plan. As for the data retrieval, the main issue is linked to the fact that the current situation results more from individual strategies rather than a joint effort involving as many actors as possible, which reinforces the mindset of the local companies not playing their role in the implementation of a circular model. The future generations have also been brought up and classified as one of the key actors to invest on, able to bring and lead changes for a future in which they will be the makers.

Our final workshop can be seen as an answer to what has been discussed and highlighted by the regions in the earlier session, through the provision of examples of successful tools currently being used or developed to foster the transition for a more resilient economic system: FECA – Forum of the Alentejo Circular Economy and the newly devised digital platform aimed at supporting the public authorities: the DigiPrime project

To read the full publication, please click on the link below:

https://www.veltha.eu/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Publication-Policylab-2nd-period-2.pdf