Energy and the Circular Economy: Filling the gap through new business models within the EGD
The FEEM report 2019 (Zoboli et al. 2019) proposed to embed the Circular Economy (CE) into a broader NEXUS framework, in which the relationships between the CE transition, the decarbonization transition, and the bioeconomy transition have to be considered in sustainability transition strategies. In this report, the focus is on the CEDecarbonisation nexus, in particular the energy-CE links, taking into consideration also those links to the bioeconomy that can be relevant for the energy-CE link. We will highlight how, in spite of the very broad policy vision emerging from the European Green Deal (EGD) and the continuously increasing industrial interest for the CE, there are still missing, or not completely deployed, links between CE and energy/decarbonization. In particular, there are missing links within the EU policy framework, in which legislation on CE and energy/climate are still delinked. The wide range of specific strategies triggered by the EGD, including the new EU Circular Economy Action Plan 2020 (EC 2020c), are going towards a deeper integration between CE and energy/decarbonization, and this can provide new opportunities. At the same time, the CE-related new business models are more and more holistic and flexibly encompass the CE-energy/decarbonizations links. In this framework, the energy industry is undertaking broad strategies for the CE that emphasize these links and move in the direction of integrated business models. The report first presents the CE-energy/decarbonizations links. Then it takes stock of the evolving policy framework for these links. The other sections address the CE-energy/decarbonizations links in the energy industry, also presenting the range of initiatives of some major players, and the CE measurement at the company level.