Conceptual Background

The concept of a Circular Economy aims to decouple human well-being and economic activities from environmental damage. If Germany wants to achieve this objective, the way we consume and produce as a society must change fundamentally: away from the so-called „throwaway society” or “throwaway economy“ towards a viable, regenerative system in which we use fewer resources, produce less waste and radically reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Over the last few years, this concept of a Circular Economy has gained momentum internationally. The European Union and various member states have developed strategic plans for a transition towards a resource-efficient economic framework according to the principles of a Circular Economy. Also, countries outside Europe follow this guiding principle, such as China, Japan or Canada.

In Germany, however, there is still no overarching strategy how a Circular Economy can be achieved although Germany considerably shaped the debate at the international level. Germany is a driver of innovation and -with its technical infrastructure- is excellently positioned to drive this change. On the political side there are already various strategies, platforms and initiatives that address elements of the Circular Economy narrative. Those are, however, not yet aligned to one overall strategy. The Circular Economy Initiative Deutschland opens a science-based discourse about the potentials of a Circular Economy in Germany and develops a Circular Economy Roadmap for Germany.

Objectives

The Circular Economy Initiative Deutschland brings together economic, scientific and societal stakeholders. Its aim is to develop a joint target vision and a concrete plan how the transformation towards a Circular Economy in Germany could be fostered. On top, the initiative seeks to initiate practical implementation, for example in the form of collaborative projects. In sum, the insights from the initiative serve as a basis for deriving policy recommendations and options which are summarized in a Circular Economy Roadmap for Germany.

The following themes will be elaborated in working groups over the next two years. The insights gained through the analyses of the working groups will serve as a basis for developing the roadmap.

  • Circular business models and regulatory framework conditions

  • New value networks for mobile energy storage systems

  • New value networks for packaging

 

Project structure

The Circular Economy Initiative Deutschland is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the participating companies. The initiative is executed under the guidance of acatech – National Academy of Science and Engineering in cooperation with SYSTEMIQ. The acatech Vice-Presidents Thomas Weber and Reinhard F. Hüttl hold the chair of the initiative.

Further bodies of the initiative:

  • The steering committee takes the strategic decision and reviews progress.

  • The working groups carry out analyses and develop short reports on their respective focus topics.

  • The task force builds on the results of the working groups and develops the roadmap.

  • National and international experts will provide support on request to any of the initiatives’ bodies

 
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PUBLICATION

Preliminary Study

 
 
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The preliminary study „Pathways Towards a German Circular Economy“ has been compiled in preparation for the Circular Economy Initiative Deutschland. The initiative, carried out under the guidance of acatech – National Academy of Science and Engineering, is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).