The Slovenia Times

From Circular: Slovenia is Moving Towards a Circular Economy


The Circular Economy model seems to be the right answer for this small country tucked between Italy, Austria, Croatia and Hungary.

Resource-efficient and circular

Slovenia has two reasons to look for new solutions: it is a small country, without the strong geo-political power which would enable it to ensure cost-efficient and secure natural resources for all its needs, and it doesn't have big multinational companies that export final products. Slovenian companies are mostly suppliers, and as such they are more sensitive to new trends, including the implementation of the principles of the circular economy in large multinational companies. The Slovenian economy cannot afford to watch and wait to see what will happen on the global market, it has to be proactive; a strategic systemic approach is needed.

Bearing this in mind, in 2015 the Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning introduced an action plan for a transition to a resource-efficient economy, including a circular economy, industrial symbiosis, energy efficiency and sustainable development. The action plan focuses on three aspects: the economy, the environment, and society. At the same time it was clearly pointed out that the principles of the circular economy form the basis of an economic and environmental shift. The circular concept offers Slovenia a new opportunity in international competitiveness.

Overcoming obstacles on the way to economic change

Besides the evident opportunities for gain that open up in a shift towards a circular economy, some obstacles to its implementation in Slovenia have also been recognised in different research studies. As mentioned above, most Slovenian exporters are suppliers, and so they are forced to change in accordance with their main customers, while those companies less dependent on export, are not so opened for sustainable business models. The banking sector is not flexible enough, and does not provide the efficient instruments that would encourage companies to change their business models in the ways required by the circular economy. Another factor is a lack of information, knowledge and targeted communication; many companies, and even some government structures, still see the circular economy as a movement promoted by NGOs, primarily related to recycling.

However, interestingly, local communities have been very active, proposing concrete plans for closer collaboration with the Ministry of Environment and other key stakeholders to cooperate in and strategically coordinate sustainable goals and projects. The green policy of the Slovenian capital, Ljubljana, is reflected in the city's green purchases, which exceed 70% of all city investments. Transportation in Ljubljana has also changed dramatically in recent years, with the BicikeLj bike-sharing system achieving more than 1.6 million journeys - close to the number of all the inhabitants of Slovenia! Slovenian businesses are now taking on the principles of the circular economy. Two recent conferences brought together different stakeholders to discuss the circular economy for the very first time, confirming it as a major factor in competitiveness.

So what's next?

Read the whole article on Circulate News


Circulate News is an online location for news and insight on the circular economy and related subjects


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