The vision of a Circular Economy and the attainment of resource efficient and circular solutions cannot be realised without policy interventions. The pace of change is very slow, and therefore the issue of necessary policy support has received increasing attention. Design solutions, business models and user behaviours are all affected by the policy environment.

Project 4 aims to provide an overview, analysis and recommendations for policy and policy packages of relevance for REES. It builds on knowledge created in WP1.2 about what policies that enable, facilitate or act as obstacles for resource-efficient and effective business models, products and processes in Sweden, Europe and internationally.

Policies at several levels

The types of policies that can be applied to support REES are manifold and applied at several levels (local, regional, national, EU, International). They can also be quite different in character. At the international level we find international conventions on waste and chemicals, and trade-related agreements (the latter are important not least as they decide the scope for selling remanufactured products).

At the EU level we have polices regulating products design and chemical content (the REACH, the Ecodesign Directive etc.), rules on consumer information and labelling, and rules on collection and recycling of products and other waste related laws.

At the national, regional and local levels we have policies related to taxes and charges (VAT, labour taxes, property write-offs, resource taxes etc.), labelling and certification schemes, public procurement, and consumer information and infrastructure for recycling, re-use and remanufacturing. These are only examples of relevant policies. In addition, standardisation activities are important both because standards influence design activities, and because standards are needed in order to show compliance with other policies.

Giving a broad overview

Project 4 is the smallest project in REES, and contains WP 4.1: ‘Policies and policy packages to enable and support REES’. It will provide an overview of policies and standardization activities relevant for REES, as well as develop policy packages and an implementation map to support policymaking for REES. T

he research will build upon knowledge from case studies conducted in other projects and WPs where we will identify policy-relevant variables, and combine this knowledge with new empirical data from surveys and interviews with industries and experts, company case studies with in-depth investigations of the policy environment, as well as analyses of policies in various jurisdictions. Webinars and workshops, allowing for discussion with stakeholders, will be used to analyze and devise policy packages.

The results will be communicated to relevant international scientific communities (via journal articles and conference papers), to industry (via popular science articles, webinars and workshops), to policymakers (through policy briefs, presentations, and workshops), and to students in Swedish and international programs (through teaching activities and chapters in the REES textbook).

Involves companies Din fabrik, Off2Off, Stpin.


Carl Dalhammar, Assistant professor, International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics, Lund University. Photo: Monica Westman