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Digital agenda for a circular economy: a new EPC's project

Eugene Eteris, RSU/BC, Riga, 11.11.2017.Print version
European Policy Center, EPC invited participants for a project for some 12-18 months, which will focus on individual workshops' implementation for digitalisation to boost the circular economy. Baltic States have strong chances to increase their digital issues to support sustainability approaches in a modern economy styles.

In its Circular Economy Strategy, presented in December 2015, the European Commission envisaged actions across the whole cycle from production to consumption, from consumption to waste, and from waste to production. The Strategy acknowledged that innovation and technology could help rethink these patterns and processes.


A multi-stakeholder approach is to ensure a frank and constructive dialogue between representatives of EU institutions, member states, regions, industry, NGOs and academia.


Through innovation, workshops with a multi-disciplinary bottom-up approach will show practical aspects of digitalisation. As to impact, an action plan will be presented to the Commission somewhere in 2019.

Project's context and goals

Transition from a linear to a circular economy, where resources and materials are restored and reused, would lead to a more resource-efficient and competitive European economy. With this transformation gaining political traction and winning support from a wide range of stakeholders, different initiatives are spreading across the European Union. However, a fully functional circular economy system across the EU states requires overcoming obstacles, including presently dominating linear practices in economies, complex mix of processes and materials, and lack of collaboration between relevant actors.


Digital solutions can represent a perfect example: these solutions can enable a better use of resources and increase the efficiency of national economies. For example, they can provide knowledge on materials and behaviours as well as facilitate partnerships between different stakeholders. In order to harness the full potential of these solutions, it is necessary to increase awareness of these possibilities and address the barriers such as lack of resources, knowledge and legal certainty that currently hinder the useof new economic models.


The EU states have to evaluate current EU initiatives on new infrastructure for digitalisation and digital transformation of industry as well as upcoming legislative proposals on cross-border flow of data, online platforms, and the access and reuse of public data from circular economy perspectives.


The transition to a circular economy can only succeed, if the EU member states can make the most of digitalisation, supported by a coherent EU policy framework.

The EPS's role

For years, the European Policy Center, EPC has been actively engaged in promoting discussion about "smarter use" of existing resources in Europe, about the production models, the way consumers use and manage existing resources and waste, as well as about creating a digital agenda in European states.


Therefore, the EPC is well placed to consider the interlinkages between circular economy and the digital agenda in a multi-stakeholder setting and contribute to shaping the sustainability policy agenda.

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With these ideas, the EPC is launching a Task Force to discuss the ways the digitalisation process and innovative technologies can support the transition to a circular economy. It will develop a roadmap for action that will boost the synergies between the circular economy and digital agendas.

Activities and outputs

The Task Force will start its work at the end of 2017; the EPC's input paper will spur the discussion at an opening High-level Policy Dialogue and a Steering Committee meeting will follow.


Five multi-stakeholder workshops are planned so the Task Force can review, with the help of concrete examples, the linkages between digitalisation and circular economy, the opportunities created by digital technologies and the challenges associated with harnessing their full potential for the transition to a circular economy.


The final list of topics to be covered remains to be determined by Task Force members and EPC retains the possibility to organise additional discussions, should the need arise.


Concrete policy recommendations for further action at the EU and the member state levels will be elaborated throughout the project and presented along with the main findings in a final publication and at a final high-level policy dialogue. The final publication will put forward a digital roadmap towards the circular economy, which will be shared also with the new European Commission in 2019.


The EPC is looking for partners interested in providing financial support to cover the costs associated with the preparation and logistics for the events as well as the drafting and publication of the final issue paper.

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