Brussels, November 8, 2023 – P2GreeN participated in the inaugural Circular Cities and Regions Initiative (CCRI) General Conference, hosted by the European Commission under the theme “From vision to reality: Cities and regions drive forward Europe’s circular transition.” The conference convened leaders, policymakers, and experts to discuss sustainable solutions within the circular economy.
The event aimed to facilitate discussions on local and regional circular solutions, covering topics such as the intersection of circularity with climate and environmental challenges, financing the circular economy, and stakeholder engagement.
For P2GreeN, the conference presented a valuable opportunity to align its mission with broader circular economy initiatives and draw inspiration from European cities and regions.
Key speakers during the opening session included Pavel Misiga (European Commission, Directorate General Research and Innovation, Head of Unit) and Janez Porocknic (International Resource Panel, Co-Chair), who addressed the historical roots and significance of the circular economy concept. Lamia Kamal-Chaoui (OECD, Director of the Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities) emphasized the role of cities in shaping national policies, and Philipp Horn (European Investment Bank, Head of the Circular Economy Division) highlighted the competitive advantages of circular practices for companies. The conference served as a platform for collaboration and advancement in Europe’s circular economy initiatives.
In the “Driving Change: Benefits of Circular Economy” session, Jocelyn Bleriot (Ellen MacArthur Foundation) emphasized cross-jurisdictional dialogue and scaling up small circular projects. Ioannis Bakas (European Environment Agency) focused on monitoring circular economy progress and identified unsustainable consumption patterns in the EU.
Elmar Willems from Flanders Region, a CCRI pilot, shared insights into Flanders’ circular advancements. Oostende’s initiatives to become a circular reference point for other cities in Flanders were also highlighted.
In the “Innovative Circular Systemic Solutions” session, Dorota Pawlucka (Circular Foam) and Maite Ferrando (Agro2Circular) presented projects on plastic circularity and agri-food residue upcycling. Ferrando emphasized the Agro2Circular project’s approach and the hidden value in agri-food residues.
Various regions, including Aarhus in Central Denmark and Podrajve Maribor (a CCRI pilot), showcased innovative circular solutions, addressing challenges and opportunities.
Laura Blair from Zero Waste Scotland emphasized data collection for policy development, while Castilla y León, adopting its Circular Economy Strategy in October 2021, focused on nutrient recovery in collaboration with P2GreeN.
In conclusion, the CCRI General Conference provided a pivotal platform for P2GreeN to highlight its transformative potential in the broader circular economy landscape. Experiences shared by regions like Castilla y León underscored the importance of collaborative efforts in advancing Europe’s circular transition.