The Ellen MacArthur Foundation launches “Delivering the circular economy – a toolkit for policymakers”

Source: Ellen MacArthur Foundation

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation today launches the results of its latest research which provides, for the first time, an actionable toolkit for policymakers who wish to embark on a circular economy transition.

The toolkit complements the recently published report Growth Within: A circular economy vision for a competitive Europe
by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the Stiftungsfonds für Umweltökonomie und Nachhaltigkeit (SUN) and the McKinsey Center for Business and Environment, by offering an actionable ‘how-to’ guide for policymakers inspired by the vision of how the circular economy could look, as explored in the Growth Within report.

Delivering the circular economy – a toolkit for policymakers is the result of a collaboration led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, with the Danish Business Authority and the Danish Environmental Protection Agency as key contributors, especially in a pilot study of Denmark. The toolkit was developed in cooperation with Danish and international stakeholders, including leading policymakers, businesses and academics. The McKinsey Center for Business and Environment provided analytical support. NERA Economic Consulting provided support for the macroeconomic and policy analysis. The project was funded by the MAVA Foundation.

The report provides a step-by-step methodology including 11 tools, which aim to:

  • Assess a country’s circular economy starting position, define its ambition level, and select focus areas
  • Systematically screen, sector-by-sector, circular economy opportunities, identify barriers that limit these opportunities and analyse policy options to overcome these barriers
  • Assess economy-wide implications.

The case study of Denmark applies the tools presented in the methodology, and evaluates opportunities in five focus sectors: food and beverage, construction and real estate, machinery, plastic packaging and hospitals. The study demonstrates that even in a country with a starting position as advanced as Denmark, there are significant opportunities to scale up the transition towards the circular economy. Modelling conducted suggests that opportunities identified in these five focus sectors, covering just 25% of the economy, could lead, in Denmark and by 2035, to 0.8–1.4% additional GDP growth, the creation of 7,000–13,000 job equivalents, a 3–7% reduction in carbon footprint, and 5–50% reduction in virgin resource consumption for selected materials.

The report underlines that circular business opportunities are mainly hindered by non-financial barriers and suggests that a sector by sector approach would be the most appropriate to identify the most relevant opportunities, barriers and policy options. Furthermore, system-wide measures, such as broader changes to the fiscal system, could support the transition towards the circular economy.

Dame Ellen MacArthur, founder of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, commented: “By helping policymakers create the right conditions for circular business opportunities, and to identify clear benefits for their national economies, the toolkit provides a platform for new collaborations between industry and policymakers – building momentum towards the system-level change needed for transition to the circular economy”.

The toolkit has received positive reactions from, amongst others, the London Waste and Recycling Board, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, C2DE, the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment, the Catalan Ministry for Business and Labour, WRAP, Haarlemmermeer, the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences, two members of national and regional parliaments, Carlsberg, the Danish Business Authority, and the Danish Environmental Protection Agency.


JRC sets up the MSFD Competence Centre (MCC)

The JRC has set up the MSFD Competence Centre (MCC) to help EU countries achieve ‘Good Environmental Status’ of their marine waters by 2020, the main aim of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD). In achieving this aim, the MSFD seeks to protect the fragile balance of marine ecosystems, upon which many economic and social activities such as fishing or tourism depend.

The MCC acts as a science-policy interface, facilitating cooperation and information exchange for the successful implementation of the Directive.

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Outcomes from Berlin Conference: comprehensive marine litter issue paper

The final Issue Paper of the “International Conference on Prevention and Management of Marine Litter in European Seas” (10-12 April, 2013) and the posters exhibited at this event are now available on the conference web-site (

The final Issue Paper as well as the Message from Berlin were presented to the Marine and Water Directors at their current meeting (May 30-31) in Dublin. They thanked Germany and the European Commission for the successful organisation of the conference, welcomed this opportunity to debate possible solutions for marine litter in detail and took note of the Issue paper and the « Message from Berlin ». Furthermore the Marine and Water Directors agreed to consider marine litter in depth at their next meeting in Vilnius in December 2013. They asked the Marine Strategy Coordination Group and, if relevant, the EU Technical Subgroup on Marine Litter to follow up on elements discussed, in particular by looking at those aspects of the « Berlin message » which are linked to the implementation of the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive. They also stressed the need to define ways to liaise with waste directors on the marine litter issue. Some relevant tasks related to the identification of land-based sources especially of microplastics and to land-based measures concerning improved marine protection are already incorporated in the now approved work programme 2013 – 2015 of the Common Implementation Strategy for the Water Framework Directive. Last but not least the Marine Directors agreed to support the work undertaken in the Regional Sea Conventions in combating Marine Litter, including the development of Regional Marine Litter Action Plans.