Two roadmaps towards an international Circular Economy

2018 is announced to be the year to accelerate the transition towards a Circular Economy by both the French and Dutch government. The linear economy (take, make and throw away) is untenable. Both governments agreed that we need a new model in which the value is created to stay and not to be thrown away (reduce, reuse and recycle). The Dutch and French recently presented their national roadmap (feuille de route) towards a 100% Circular Economy (CE). This blog discusses a first broad analyses of mutual elements.

Presentation of the Dutch Transition Agendas on the 15th of January. Source: Rijksoverheid

Dutch Transition Agendas

On the 15th of January 2018 the Netherlands presented their five roadmaps towards a Circular Economy (CE). These 5 transition agenda’s were the result of a process formally started in 2016 by the Government called “Netherlands Circular in 2050”. This program stated the ambition of a 100% CE by 2050. The transition agendas cover the following areas:

  1. Biomass and Food
  2. Plastics
  3. Manufacturing industry
  4. Construction
  5. Consumer goods

Within each area there is a transition team of all different stakeholders involved (consumers, enterprises, bonds, governments, knowledge institutes, etc.) appointed to guard the progress and deals made within the transition agendas, covering the direction of developments, activities, knowledge, social aspects and investments.

La Feuille de Route

The 23rd of April the French presented their roadmap (feuille de route) for a 100% CE in France. The objective is, among others, to have 100% plastic recycling by 2025 and to create 300 000 new ‘circular’ jobs. Prime Minister Édouard Philippe, accompanied by State Secretary Brune Poirson in charge of the Solidary and Ecological Transition, presented the 50 measures that the feuille de route encloses. Organized in four big themes:

  1. Better producing
  2. Better consuming
  3. Better managing our waste
  4. Mobilizing all actors involved

Per theme different measures are presented, counting up till 50, that tackle the challenges on the road to a CE including all the parties concerned (consumers, enterprises and the government). In the first theme ‘better producing’ the goals are clear: differentiation of products on their environmental performance, producing with less non-renewable resources, using more recycled resources like plastic and creating new jobs with competences that fit the CE. An example of one of the 7 measures connected to this theme is to incorporate more recycled raw materials into products. The second theme ‘better consuming’ contains 9 measures and aims for the following objectives: giving the consumer the means to make more responsible choices, lengthen the life of products, create sustainable jobs in social and solidary economy (like the repair industry) and fight against food waste. An example is the measure to force factories to include information on how to repair electronic products when broken. The third theme ‘better waste management’ contains as much as 34 measures to work towards the following goals: the collection of 100% recyclable waste, simplifying the sorting of waste for consumers, taking the bio-waste out of the bins, accelerating the introduction of incentive pricing for waste management, forcing companies that have a lot of waste to take responsibility in sorting out metal, paper, wood, plastic and glass and last but not least, setting up sorting and recycling targets for deconstruction also during the construction phase. One example is the encouragement towards a ‘general movement’ towards recyclable packaging, plastic bottles and cans. The last theme is to ensure all parties involved are having a voice and taking responsibilities by aiming for the following objectives: inform, educate and train all actors in the CE, relying on the decisive power of public order, mobilizing communities and businesses in the regions, installing sustainable governance and supporting the transition through appropriate financing. Examples of the measures of this theme are the inclusion of the theme CE in the general education by the ministry of education, national and regional. Also creating specific financing instruments to support innovative solutions by a ‘fund for the CE’ governed by ADEME.

presentation feuille de route.jpg
Prime Minister Philippe presenting the Feuille de route on the 23rd of April. Source: OREE

With the statement #makeourplanetgreatagain (COP21) and the CE roadmaps presented France wants to lift the sustainable transition to a European and international level. After working together on the EU-action plan for the CE, they look at the Netherlands as a valuable and important partner in the transition towards a circular Europe. The Netherlands are known for their ‘front-runner position’ on CE (excellent infrastructure, waste management and creative sustainable solutions). Since we are almost completely dependent on the import of resources, the importance of ‘mining’ and recycling what is already in our system is both environmental and economic.

Common grounds and activities

France and the Netherlands are already working together on the transition towards a CE, but the roadmaps could accelerate our cooperation on different levels (national and local policy, business and knowledge). The transition is a systemic transition involving all parts of society and since it is impossible to be the front-runner on all levels at the same time, there is a lot to learn and exchange. The common themes can reinforce our transition towards a bilateral and European CE!

Themes that are on both our agendas are:

  1. Construction (infrastructure, building and renovation)
  2. Textile
  3. Plastic recycling
  4. Food and biomass
  5. The government as launching customer by circular purchasing.

Activities between our countries will focus on different levels; our high-level government officials and policy makers will meet the coming months on several occasions to look for common grounds. Next to the high-level and policy cooperation’s, also more detailed partnerships are formed between for example Association ORÉE (who played an important role in the development on the roadmap in France) and Holland Circular Hotspot (HCH). They are already working together in a Partners International Business (PIB) on waste and bio-energy. And the possibility for a PIB on construction and renovation is currently being explored by a group of enterprises together with and the Dutch Embassy in France. Even more concrete activities on a French-Dutch circular friendship are the two-day conference held in Paris on the 7th and 8th of March 2018 on CE in the build environment. More info on this fruitful conference here. Also a French VIP-delegation is being organized in partnership with ORÉE to visit the Holland Circular Economy Week to be held in The Hague and Amsterdam from the 11th till 14th of June 2018.

Join us on the road to an European Circular Economy!


Contact Dutch Embassy in France: