Funseam, the Chair of Circular Economy and Sustainability of the TecnoCampus (Mataró) and the UNESCO Chair of Sustainability of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, with the collaboration of Accenture and Jaime Ferrer (project director), have developed the project “Spain's circular economy”, the aim of which is to identify opportunities and draw up an action plan aimed at companies and administrations, together with more than 100 companies and sectoral entities. The paper analyzes the current situation and opportunities in circular economy models in various business sectors, as well as detecting barriers to change, identifying instruments and proposing practical recommendations to administrations, industry associations and companies.

The project has been coordinated by the businessman Jaume Ferrer and has had the collaboration of Accenture. In total Nearly 100 companies and sector associations have taken part, belonging to eleven branches of activity: energy, agri-food, automotive, logistics, construction, tourism, textiles, water cycle, cities, ICT sector and banking. The research addresses the relevance of business models and best practices in each of the sectors when applying the circular economy.

Needs are analyzed in matters such as; regulatory changes, key technologies, training and employment skills, as well as the stimuli and public aid needed to make the circular economy more profitable than the traditional linear economy by motivating actors (society and business). The aim of this initiative is to contribute to the achievement of the measures included in the Spanish Circular Economy Strategy 2030 (EEEC) announced by the Spanish government.

According to Jaime Ferrer, “companies agree that circular economy models are of different importance depending on the sector; we are talking about issues such as ecodesign, the use of renewable resources, the recovery of materials, the extension of useful life, “service” business models or shared consumption platforms ”.

Mar Isla, researcher at the TecnoCampus Chair in Circular Economics and Sustainability, believes that: “if the goals of the EEEC 2030 are to be met, measures will be needed to promote the incorporation of recovered materials into the production cycles of all sectors and, in addition, the principles of repair and extension of life will have to be integrated. useful products in business models. ”

Jordi Morató, researcher at the UNESCO Chair in Sustainability at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, is surprised by the level of awareness of companies when facing this change and the clarity when it comes to identifying the barriers that they make it difficult: “We will only achieve the objectives of the EEEC 2030 if regulation and incentives mobilize private capital to develop a state network for the collection and recovery of both household fractions and industrial waste. EU Next Generation funding will not be enough. ”

Joan Batalla, CEO of Funseam, emphasized: “The new regulations promote renewable energy and waste recovery, but the transition to the circular economy will require new adjustments, particularly in terms of incentives for private capital. It is necessary to promote business models that promote energy saving, waste assessment and renewable energy generation networks, as well as industrial and energy symbiosis projects between complementary sectors ”. The document provides the administrations with some proposals for the design of regulatory measures, as well as specific assistance programs for the real needs of companies.

Jaime Ferrer points out, for example, that “measures to support the electric vehicle must be complemented with measures that facilitate the industrial conversion of the sector to activities such as the development of new materials, the conversion of internal combustion vehicles into electric and remanufacturing of components for reincorporation into the production processes of the manufacture of vehicles and other industrial goods. ” The conclusions of the project are being made known to companies and administrations. Reports related to 8 sectors (energy, water cycle, textiles, tourism, transporte and logistics, automotive and industrial goods, consumption and food and construction) have been completed. The 2022 sectoral reports derived from the research as well as a general report are expected to be published in early 11.

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Awards for the best final degree or master's thesis with a perspective on circular economics

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Reading of a doctoral thesis directed by Professor Jordi Roquer