Helping Europe achieve a circular economy transition

EIT Climate-KIC, EIT RawMaterials, EIT Digital, EIT Food, EIT Manufacturing and EIT Urban Mobility have created a Cross-Knowledge and Innovation Community (KIC) action aiming to strengthen the collaboration of their activities related to the circular economy. 

A coordinated and efficient collaboration between the different KICs will help the EU achieve its Circular Economy Action Plan.  

The initiative aims to establish discussions among the KICs to find ways to develop a joint offer around circular economy and improve coordination with the Commission on this issue. It will also strengthen collaboration with other relevant stakeholders, support the European Institute of Technology in discussions with the Directorate-General for the Environment of the European Commission and facilitate the access to markets for innovative solutions developed in participating KICs. 

In a world where demand and competition for finite resources continues to increase, and pressure on resources is causing greater environmental degradation and fragility, valuable materials are leaking from our economies. Moving to more circular economic models would allow Europe to rise to the current and future challenges of global pressure on resources and rising insecurity of supply. 

Circular economy systems are beneficial for the planet because they keep resources within the economy when a product has reached the end of its life, so that they can be productively used again and again and hence eliminate waste. But a transition to a more circular economy requires deep changes throughout value chains. There is a need for new product design, new business and market models, new ways of turning waste into a resource and new modes of consumer behaviour. This implies full systemic change, and innovation not only in technologies, but also in organisation, society, finance methods and policies.  

EIT Climate-KIC circular economy expert, Cliona Howie, was recently appointed to the European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform Coordination Group where she will represent the Circular Economy Cross-KIC Initiative. “The six participating KICs have, in total, funded and created nearly 1000 initiatives, solutions, services and start-ups related to the circular economy,” says Howie. “This impressive wealth of activities positions the KICs extremely well to tackle many of the existing and upcoming systemic challenges that we are and will be facing, but only if working together as a united team. EIT Climate-KIC is a promoter of holistic systems thinking and I see great potential to leverage on the expertise and focus areas of all KICs in order to orchestrate systems change at scale across industries and national borders.”

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