Circular Economy: the Ceps Framework
Whilst the circular economy promises significant environmental, social and economic benefits, particularly in a context of sweeping climatic change, environmental deterioration and economic and financial crisis, in practice the ‘linear model’ still dominates the economic system. The uptake of circular economy models seems to be slower than expected. There may be several reasons for this, which range from cultural resistance, e.g. because its complexity challenges the current neo-liberal thinking and its simplicity tenet, to the lack of adequate policy frameworks, the absence of specific financial instruments and the lack of specialist skills and competences.
The stakeholders involved in the economic processes, including policy makers and decisions makers, need simple frameworks that allow them to rethink the socio economic system. In our research, we tried to rethink the concept of the ‘circular economy’ through the prism of its relevance to its many stakeholders, ranging from public and private actors and mature and emerging industries to cities and regions, SMEs and multi-sectoral corporations. In particular, we developed a schematic modular framework, which breaks down the circular economy into fundamental building blocks and shows how these block are interconnected in relation to the multiplicity of stakeholders.
Such blocks may then be used by policymakers on the one hand and by decision makers on the other to progressively to transition the economic systems towards the circular economy. In particular, we used the framework to develop recommendations addressed to European policy-makers on how best to support such transition towards a circular economy in the EU.