CEPS: Commission needs to clarify circular economy definition

12 April, Brussels – A new paper from the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) has argued that the European Commission needs to better define the areas and sectors that are covered by its circular economy initiatives, in order to quantify impacts from policy interventions. Currently, the Commission lacks indicators and data on the circular economy, though it is in the process of defining measurable indicators.

Whilst many studies have shown that the circular economy has the chance to create jobs and growth, there is insufficient analysis of the winners and losers from such a transition. Having a better understanding of both the direct and indirect impacts would allow policy-makers to design measures that could counteract any negative impacts.

The paper notes that currently the circular economy concept has a variety of interpretations, which leads to different application of principles and may hamper future international co-operation.

The Commission has previously described the circular economy as one, “where the value of products, materials and resources is maintained in the economy for as long as possible, and the generation of waste minimised”. However, the paper argues that this definition misses key elements such as maintaining products and materials at their highest value and utility.

For more information, see the CEPS paper, ‘The Circular Economy: A review of definitions, processes and impacts.’