The global economy of today is still based on a linear approach with a focus on exploiting cheap natural resources and managing economies of scale in manufacturing processes. But this is changing, as the interest and ambition to transform global production and consumption systems towards the circular economy continue to grow. Circular economy prioritises resource efficiency and retaining the value of materials and products throughout their entire life cycle, with increased focus on value-chain actors, citizens and other socio-economic aspects. This new way of managing the economy and resources has a significant potential t o create positive impact.

To tackle the complex challenge of shifting towards a productive circular economy in the European Union (EU), the European Green Deal was formed in 2019 as a growth strategy to ensure that economic growth is decoupled from resource use while aiming for zero net emissions of greenhouse gases in 2050. At the same time, the second version of the EU Circular Economy Action Plan (EU CEAP) was released in spring of 2020 to encourage societal transformation towards the circular economy, which is also part of the EU Green Deal. Numerous other EU initiatives, including the new Horizon Europe programme, are also increasingly focusing on circular economyrelated topics.

Research & innovation priorities