European Economic and Social Committee "Circular economy strategies and roadmaps in Europe"

Circular economy strategies and roadmaps in Europe: Identifying synergies and the potential for cooperation and alliance building

This report reviews circular economy strategies in support to the European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform (ECESP). Circular economy strategies have been under development in European cities, regions, and countries in the last few years. 33 strategies have been adopted since 2014, and at least 29 more are under development. Existing strategies were reviewed to identify similarities and differences, assess the involvement of civil society organisations, and potential for collaboration. The documents reflect a period of defining and understanding the circular economy concept and its possibilities. In this evolving context, strategies are valuable endeavours which draw attention to the topic, kickstart initiatives and bring stakeholders together. The report argues that documents developed in the future should put more focus on including broader sections of value chains, and on ensuring inclusive partnership approaches in all phases of the strategy’s cycle. To date, circular economy strategies show different degrees of inclusiveness in terms of value chains and partner involvement. Limited inclusive approaches can be explained by the exploratory nature of most documents. This includes a stronger involvement of civil society organisations in earlier phases of strategy development, and not just for dissemination and citizen involvement. The report highlights the ECESP’s role in gathering and sharing civil society’s knowledge and making sure it’s fed into the policy cycle for circular economy.