During a plenary debate in February 2021, the EU Parliament representatives agreed that achieving the goals of the European “Green Deal” will only be possible if the EU moves to a circular economy model and that this change will create new jobs and business opportunities. Furthermore, they stated that mandatory 2030 targets for material consumption and carbon footprint of consumption are urgently needed.
It is the main goal of a Circular Economy (CE) to re-form the dominant linear value chains into a circular economic system. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a main institution in the field of CE, names three driving CE principles :
- Design out waste and pollution
- Keep products and materials in use
- Regenerate natural systems
Products are not to be thrown away but are seen as new potential resources. According to the European Parliament  up to 80% of the environmental impact of products is already determined in the design. The world’s material consumption is expected to double over the next forty years, while the amount of waste generated annually is expected to increase by 70% by 2050. Globally, 90% of species decline is on land, 90% of water scarcity and 50% of the effects of climate change are due to the extraction and processing of resources.
A circular economy can significantly contribute to reducing carbon footprints from individuals, communities and companies and decrease environmental exploitation and destruction. Emission reduction through circularity is also key for climate neutrality, which the EU aims to reach by 2050. The EU Commission names three aspects to use the synergies of greenhouse gas emission reductions and CE to reach climate neutrality :
- analyse how the impact of circularity on climate change mitigation and adaptation can be measured in a systematic way;
- improve modelling tools to capture the benefits of the circular economy on greenhouse gas emission reduction at EU and national levels;
- promote strengthening the role of circularity in future revisions of the National Energy and Climate Plans and, where appropriate, in other climate policies.
Besides emission reduction, climate neutrality also requires excessive greenhouse gases to be removed from the atmosphere, used in an economy without being released, and stored for longer periods of time. The EU Commission explains that “Carbon removals can be nature based, including through restoration of ecosystems, forest protection, afforestation, sustainable forest management and carbon farming sequestration, or based on increased circularity, for instance through long term storage in wood construction, re-use and storage of carbon in products” . A certain incentive is necessary to move towards circular economy, emission reduction and carbon removal. Hence, the EU Commission explores developing a regulatory framework to certify “carbon removals based on robust and transparent carbon accounting to monitor and verify the authenticity of carbon removals” .
Fore detailed information feel free to download our circular economy whitepaper. We look forward to supporting you with our more than 20 years of sustainability expertise and our customized services regarding circular economy business models! Contact us for more information at or +49.8192.99733-20.
 adapted from Ellen MacArthur Foundation (2013): Towards the circular economy – Opportunities for the consumer goods sector. https://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/assets/downloads/publications/TCE_Report-2013.pdf , last accessed April 2021
 European Parliament 2021 : Kreislaufwirtschaft: Strengere EU-Regeln für Verbrauch und Recycling. https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/de/press-room/20210204IPR97114/kreislaufwirtschaft-strengere-eu-regeln-fur-verbrauch-und-recycling , last accessed April 2021
 European Commission, 2020 (p. 16): A new Circular Economy Action Plan. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=COM%3A2020%3A98%3AFIN , last accessed April 2021