The Slovenia Times

The world must become more circular to reach it's climate goals


Bringing Circular Change to COP25

The most important (conference) of the year, COP25 in Madrid, did not bring the results everyone has been waiting on, due mainly to the lack of cooperation of a select group of countries, and to the failure in dialogue between the developed countries and the Global South.

Another much needed dialogue, however, has developed in a much more positive way. In 2019, climate change strategies became part of the mainstream. Less talked about, but no less important, was the realisation that unsustainable resource use and greenhouse gas emissions work hand in hand to reinforce each other's negative impacts on the environment. Through a circular economy, we try to address the issues connected to resource use in manufacturing, in the way we use everyday products and what we do with them after we no longer need them. Putting circular economy business models in place, and learning how to use products and services in a more "circular" way, has a direct impact on greenhouse gas emissions. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation connect around 45% of potential CO2 emissions cuts to the production and use of products and food. This is why it is critical for organisations and individuals who work on delivering the transition to a circular economy to connect more with the climate change community and plan mutual strategies for greening (and improving) our societies.

Fortunately, this year's COP proved that this alliance is starting to kick-off. Ladeja Godina Košir, the Founder and Director of Circular Change, the Slovenian stakeholder engagement platform for the circular economy, and the elected Chair of the coordination group of the European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform (ECESP), established by the European Economic and Social Committee, was invited to speak at two different side events to share her perspective on collaboration for sustainability and the role of civil society networks, such as the ECESP. 

The consultation, titled "Combining circular economy principles with GHG-reduction strategies" took place in the EU Pavilion and was opened by Director General Daniel Calleja Crespo who emphasised the central role of the ECESP network for the upcoming Green Deal by the new Commission. The event aimed to demonstrate how countries can find more comprehensive solutions to meet the 1.5ºC goal, provide examples of Central European good practices and a forum for discussion to help Central European practitioners deal with the challenges they come up against. The European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform serves the role of a 'network of networks', open to everyone who wishes to become engaged in the circular economy, emphasised its current Slovenian Chair. 


The second event was dedicated to the building of an alliance of a different sort: to strengthen the cooperation between Europe and Latin America. The EuroChile foundation invited Ladeja to participate in their Circular Economy Forum and Brokerage Event on 11 December. As enablers of the circular economy who work across Europe, being sensitive to different environments is key to the approach used by Circular Change. Ladeja thus emphasized the need for understanding of different cultures and for adjusting solutions to different social contexts based on shared values. No one has all the ideas, but we have each other. COP25 proved that much more has to be done to bridge the gap between the understanding of responsibility and willingness to take action to reach the goals set in the Paris agreement. 

For Circular Change, a busy year which featured presentations at over 45 conferences, workshops, seminars and plenary meetings in 12 countries, from North Macedonia to the USA, is coming to an end. However, the efforts to bring greater awareness on the potential of the circular economy to decrease greenhouse gas emissions will continue in 2020. January will feature a speech at the Cradle2 Cradle Congress 2020 in Berlin, and the International Workshop on Targets for a Circular Economy, organised by the Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy, established by WEF, in The Hague. With the second Circular Economy Action Plan being foreseen as a key part of the European Green Deal, 2020 is shaping up as another "circular" year.


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