The first-ever Circular Economy Barcamp in Berlin was recently organized by the FSLCI. The Barcamp, which took place on the 26th of November 2019 and was kindly hosted by The Place Berlin, brought together a divers mix of participants interested in discussing various aspects of the Circular Economy.
Participants agreed at the beginning of the day on key topics which they would like to focus on. Especially the question how to measure the Circular Economy and what role LCA could play was identified as a topic of great interest to many and thus was discussed intensely in the morning. After the lunch break participants discussed questions such as how to achieve higher recycling rates and which challenges would need to be overcome to close loops.
In the afternoon participants were challenged to come up with examples for good (enhancing sustainability) and bad (causing adverse sustainability impacts) circular economy initiatives / projects / products. Finally the social dimension of transformative processes such as moving to a Circular Economy was discussed.
In the end participants agreed on a number of key messages:
- Clarity with regards to terminologies and language is urgently needed, especially when using terms such as recyclability, degradability, circular solution etc.,
- When launching a Circular Economy project / initiative / product it is key to understand, if taking the circular route is also beneficial from a sustainability performance perspective,
- The LCA and Circular Economy communities often use different perspectives (e.g. product system vs economic system) but should collaborate and interact more with one another as both perspectives can add value,
- Life cycle approaches can help assess circular solutions to enable maintaining material value while also reducing sustainability impacts
- The Life Cycle Community has already developed ways to address a circular perspective within LCA, e.g. see here,
- There is a need to address various dimensions (social, economic and environmental) of societal transformation processes in order to create and ensure support for change in our societies,
- Sustainability needs to be understood from a perspective that prioritizes the environmental and societal dimension, in line with this regrouping of the SDGs by the Stockholm Resilience Centre!
We would like to thank all participants for their positive energy and contributions to the insightful and interesting discussions. We will open a space to continue the discussion in a public form on our Global Life Cycle Community Platform and invite anyone interested in the subject to create an account already and join the discussion!