Circular economy in Europe — Developing the knowledge base
The report describes the concept of the circular economy and outlines its key characteristics. It draws attention to both the benefits and challenges in transitioning to such an economy and highlights possible ways to measure progress.
Europe is bound to the rest of the world through multiple systems that enable two-way flows of materials, financial resources, ideas and innovation. As a result, Europe's economic, ecological and societal resilience is and will continue to be significantly affected by a variety of global and interdependent social, economic, political, environmental and technological trends.
Global material resource use in 2030, for example, is expected to be twice that of 2010 (SERI, 2013), while the most recent United Nations forecast suggests that the global population is likely to exceed 11 billion by the end of the 21st century (UN DESA, 2015). With 7.2 billion people today, however, the planet is already struggling to meet humanity's demands for land, food and other natural resources, and to absorb its wastes. Indeed, there is evidence that some planetary boundaries, which define a safe operating space for human development, may already have been transgressed. These include the biosphere's integrity, nitrogen and phosphorus cycles, climate change and land system changes
ORBIS is powered by ESPAS, the European Strategy and Policy Analysis System, a unique inter-institutional project aimed at strengthening the EU's efforts in the crucial area of forward planning. ESPAS brings together the European Commission, the European Parliament, the Secretariat General of the Council of the European Union and the European External Action Service to strengthen the Union's collective administrative capacity to identify and analyse the key trends and challenges, and the resulting policy choices, which are likely to confront Europe and the wider world in the decades ahead.