The EU has embraced the concept of the circular economy (CE), which has now become a central component of many EU policies including the European Green Deal and the Coronavirus Recovery Plan. However, academic research has yet to evaluate the discourse and policies of the EU on the CE. This is precisely what Martin Calisto Friant (Utrecht University), Walter Vermeulen (Utrecht University) and Roberta Salomone (University of Messina) have examined in their latest paper, published in the journal Sustainable Production and Consumption and openly accessible here. Their research analyses the 25 new CE directives, communications and regulations of the Junker Commission and evaluates their sustainability implications based on a typology of circularity discourses. Results show a dichotomy between words and actions, with a discourse that is rather holistic while policies focus on technical “end of pipe” solutions. To address the abovementioned limitations, the paper proposes a set of 32 science-based policy recommendations which can help strengthen CE policies both within and outside the EU. This research thus brings key insights for practitioners and academics seeking to better understand the EU’s CE policies and how to improve CE implementation at both national and international level. To find out more about their results, insights and recommendations please see the full open access article by clicking on the 'read more' button below.
Circular economy; policy analysis; discourse analysis; environmental governance; sustainability; circular society; degrowth; post-growth