Cities and the Circular Economy
The launch of the European Green Deal puts the concept of circular economy at the centre of efforts to transform the European Union into a fair and prosperous society, where economic growth is decoupled from resource use and environmental harm. In light of the socio-economic impact of the current crisis, the road to recovery is an opportunity to rethink the way we do things – to build back in a way that ensures a more resilient future. A systemic shift to a regenerative economic model is fundamental to achieving climate neutrality and keeping resource consumption within planetary boundaries. However, it requires citizen behaviour change and multilevel governance of the transition. Cities and regions have a central role to play in achieving this.
Vision for a Circular City
The circular economy requires an integrated and systemic transition from the linear ‘take-make-dispose’ model to circular closed-loop systems, especially in key value chains, such as electronics and ICT, batteries and vehicles, packaging, plastics, textiles, construction and buildings, and food.
A Circular City Definition
"A circular city is one that promotes the transition from a linear to a circular economy in an integrated way across all its functions in collaboration with citizens, businesses and the research community. This means in practice fostering business models and economic behaviour which decouple resource use from economic activity by maintaining the value and utility of products, components, materials and nutrients for as long as possible in order to close material loops and minimise harmful resource use and waste generation. Through this transition, cities seek to improve human well-being, reduce emissions, protect and enhance biodiversity, and promote social justice, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals."
Cities commit to the circular transition
The signatory cities of the Circular Cities Declaration have recognised this opportunity and are committed to using their key role as a force of transformation towards a circular economy:
- Transitioning from a linear to a circular economy is central to their efforts to decouple economic growth from resource use, and achieve a climate neutral, fair and prosperous society.
- They recognise that local and regional governments have a critical role to play in achieving the systemic and transformative change required and must work actively with all levels of government and stakeholders from civil society, the private sector and the research community in this mission.
- Providing a shared, common vision of a circular city can help ensure cities all travelling in the same direction