Scientists at Vrije Universiteit Brussels (IES/VUB), Yale University, the University of Cambridge, the Norwegian University of Science & Technology and INSEAD under the auspices of the International Society for Industrial Ecology are organising a day-long event on 25 April at IES to explore environmental and resource dimensions of the circular economy. The event will present examples of research - along with commentary by stakeholders - that can illuminate what industrial ecology can contribute to the beneficial development of the circular economy.
The circular economy is gaining increasing currency as a strategy in the pursuit of global sustainability. The European Union is formulating a circular economy strategy as a socio-economically promising means to achieve resource efficiency. In a circular economy, resources are kept in use for as long as possible, extracting their maximum value. Products and materials are recovered and renewed, leveraging business models designed to support this regenerative activity.
There have been many conferences about business opportunities and the policy potential for the circular economy. Discussion, however, about the actual environmental dimensions of this framework has been limited. For 25 years the field of industrial ecology has examined the cycling of materials and energy at all scales. It may hence provide a scientific foundation and many insights for understanding and quantifying the extent of the environmental benefits to be obtained and the pitfalls to be avoided.
The event Industrial Ecology: Science, the Environment and the Circular Economy will explore environmental and resource dimensions of the circular economy and also present examples of research that can illustrate in what extend industrial ecology can foster the development of the circular economy.