Circular spark

Image from Unsplash by Javier Esteban

Embracing circularity to spark economic transformation

The inauguration event of the Circular Investment Readiness Network (CIRN) on November 21st marked a milestone for the supporters of sustainable economic practices. The network, launched by CircularInvest and DEFINITE-CCRI, aims to create a community of like-minded professionals to cultivate discussions, foster collaborations, and channel investments towards advancing circularity in European cities and regions. 

The transition to a circular economy promises a multitude of benefits, including higher productivity, enhanced cost efficiency, and overall economic growth — all achieved while respecting our planet's boundaries. However, because of their innovative nature, circular projects often encounter hurdles while looking for financial backing. 

The CIRN kick-off event emphasised the need for investors to expand their perspectives beyond conventional investment paradigms and support circular innovation. Institutions like the EIB already offer funding for circular projects, but many investors still lack the knowledge and confidence to invest in circular business opportunities. Contrary to misconceptions, circular actions offer strategic advantages for financial entities. By promoting reuse, remanufacturing, and recycling, these initiatives optimise resource efficiency, reducing costs and reliance on new materials, and mitigating supply chain risks. Furthermore, encouraging companies to innovate through new business models and design approaches can generate new revenue streams and bolster market competitiveness.  

These positive effects cascade down to the local level, manifesting in reduced environmental footprints and the creation of new jobs. Embracing circularity alone prompted the city of Ghent (Belgium) to estimate the potential creation of up to 50,000 jobs by 2035. Dieter De Smedt, Ghent’s Investment and Tech Innovation Manager stated that “even the smallest circular actions have the potential for significant impacts, but we need a shift in perspective to favour collective value changes over single projects”. 

The CIRN event offered a platform to address common barriers faced by circular projects. The session was enriched by circular economy experts and inspiring success stories from Euro Manganese and Juunoo, whose circular ideas were financed by, respectively, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and Trividend 

The next sessions will focus on how to boost the impacts of circular projects (spring 2024), investors’ expectations and requirements (summer 2024) and how to pitch a project to a jury (winter 2024). Join the CIRN now to get access to exclusive resources and receive invitations to future events. 

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