In June, the Competence Centre eStandards completed two years of actively engaging in guiding German small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) towards sustainable digital business models. During this time, the CSCP conducted pilot projects, develop hands-on tools and provide comprehensive curricula to SMEs on creating future-proof companies through digitalisation.

“Mittelstand 4.0 Kompetenzzentrum eStandards” introduces digitalisation and standardisation to German small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). It is an initiative of Mittelstand-Digital, which is a part of the digitalisation strategy put forward by the German Federal Ministry for Economic and Energy Affairs (BMWi). The CSCP is part of the Competence Centre eStandards, where we conduct digitalisation projects with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with a strong focus on enabling sustainable business practices, such as circular economy approaches or digital sustainable supply chains.

The CSCP is especially proud of the pilot projects with FOND OF, migori and TENETRIO.

Together with FOND OF, we developed the roadmap towards a circular business model for backpacks and bags. The company intends to keep its materials and raw materials longer in the economic cycle, thus contributing to the product’s added value.

In collaboration with migori, we developed a digital customer communication solutions for packaging-free shopping. Through this solution, customers can access all product information which is usually printed on the packaging.

TENETRIO is a start-up that offers insect-based nutrition which is resource-optimised and sustainable food for dogs. We supported the firm in enabling optimal availability of their products through consistent tracking of stock movements and the implementation of eStandards.

Other impacts of this project in the last two years:

For further information, contact Patrik Eisenhauer.

In the European Union over 100 million tonnes of biowaste are thrown away every year. Currently, 75% of this goes to landfill or is incinerated, and this is about to change for the SCALIBUR project’s three pilot cities – Kozani, Albano Laziale and Madrid. The first city to officially kick-off their biowaste club is Kozani, Greece, where a local stakeholder panel will implement various activities along Kozani’s biowaste value chain.

As in much of Europe, most organic waste in Kozani currently goes to landfill – a bad option for the environment and the economy. The Municipality of Kozani is determined to change this with the newly launched Biowaste Club.

The Club consists of a stakeholder board that includes all key local actors along the city’s biowaste value chain. During the 4 years of the SCALIBUR project, the Biowaste Club will be supported by the CSCP and local project partner CluBE (Cluster of Bioenergy and Environment of Western Macedonia) to pilot new initiatives to make Kozani’s biowaste value chain more circular. The Biowaste Club will support the Municipality to roll-out separate collection in pilot neighbourhoods across the city of Kozani, and explore opportunities to transform biowaste into valuable products such as bioplastics and fertilisers.

Members of the Club will work together to revolutionise the Integrated Regional Waste Management System, making the city a circular economy pioneer in Greece, while also exploring the potential to create new growth and employment opportunities through better biowaste management.

“The biowaste club will be our core engagement tool in Kozani, to empower all actors along the value chain – in particular the citizens – to bring in their needs, perspectives and visions for Kozani and to motivate them to actively contribute to biowaste recycling and sustainable lifestyles in their city”, explained Carina Diedrich, Project Manager, the CSCP.

Kozani, Albano Laziale and Madrid will be supported by expert partners from the SCALIBUR project, who are researching and testing improved methods for biowaste collection, transport, sorting and (pre)treatment.

This initiative is part of the project SCALIBUR, which has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme. Under the guidance of the CSCP, ‘Biowaste Clubs’ are also being established in Albano Laziale (Italy) and Madrid (Spain).

Please contact Carina Diedrich for more information.

Map Image: OpenStreetMap | License: Open Database License (ODbL)

photo Ⓒ Nikos Ntavos, CluBE (Cluster of Bioenergy and Environment of Western Macedonia)

Cities are growth engines in need of supervision and control. They are the major contributors to climate change and responsible for up to 76% of the carbon emissions. Even though they occupy less than 2% of the Earth surface, they account for 75% of natural resource consumption and 50% of global waste production. The Circular Economy Guidebook for Cities addresses these challenges by suggesting systematic approaches, deriving context-related recommendations and providing concrete examples united under the goal to achieve progress towards circularity in cities.

When looking at the “how to achieve progress” it becomes clear that common collaborative action between different stakeholder groups within cities – such as citizens and private initiatives, entrepreneurs, NGOs, policymakers, academia – is needed. Cities are among the most important actors which can positively influence development if they turn circular.

The guidebook is based on our work from international research projects as well as regional groundwork on circular cities. It’s objective is to give practical advice to actors involved in the development of a circular city as well as a contribution to the overall discourse.

We are steadily looking for further opportunities to bring in our expertise and commitment to the development of circular cities as well as the circular economy through collaborative endeavours. We do this with partners who share our fascination with sustainability.

We’d like to thank Piyush Dhawan who temporarily joined the CSCP as a fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in 2018 and who is also the lead author of this publication.

Please click here to download the Circular Economy Guidebook for Cities.

Please contact Janpeter Beckmann for further questions.


The European Union (EU) Health and Food Safety Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis congratulated the success of the REFRESH project as an outstanding research project with valuable results and impacts. The REFRESH project ended in June 2019 and in a video message, the Commissioner emphasised that thanks to the concrete actions and tools developed, the project results will continue to guide EU policy for food waste reduction.

Commissioner Andriukaitis pointed out that the extensive research done by the REFRESH project has helped “to understand complex questions on what drives food waste at consumer and business levels”. He mentioned the national Pilot Working Platforms set up in four EU countries represented an “excellent blueprint for members states to organise food waste prevention programmes by harnessing the power of public-private partnerships.”

According to Andriukaitis, the project’s holistic approach combined technological innovation, the design of voluntary agreements against food waste and the support for national implementation was “invaluable”. It will continue to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 of halving food waste in Europe. He said, “Personal investment of each one of us is required to meet the global challenge of halving food waste by 2030. But with the legacy of the REFRESH project, we are all better equipped to do so.”

Commissioner Andriukaitis himself was involved in several of the project ‘s events and activities. He highlighted that “the REFRESH workshops and conferences complemented the cooperative way of building solutions, providing innovative and interactive ways of deepening networks across all levels of society”. The Commissioner emphasised the power of such multi-layered cooperation must not be underestimated.

To watch the video message by Commissioner Andriukaitis, please click here.

To learn more about the REFRESH project Pilot Working Platform, which was hosted by the CSCP in Germany, click here.

For further questions, please contact Nora Brüggemann.


Nudges, social norms, digital tools and triggers for shifting to plant based diets, saving energy at home or reducing daily food waste – these are just some of the examples that participants could experience and discuss during the Day of Change, which was organised by the Academy of Change project in Brussels on 1 July 2019.

To keep global rise of temperatures to 1.5 degree, substantial reductions of CO2 emissions related to our lifestyles have to happen fast. Sari Laine, of the Finnish Innovation Fund SITRA presented the Summary of 1.5 degree lifestyle report, highlighting high emission impact areas like meat and dairy consumption or transport. While reduction pathways for these emission areas are partly attributed to changes in infrastructure and policy frameworks, several topics also call for a shift in personal behaviours.

That need for a change in everyday lifestyles was discussed lively by the expert panel consisting of Renatas Mazeika, Head of Unit for Consumer Policy, DG JUST, European Commission, Dr Kate Burningham, Deputy Director in CUSP, University of Surrey, Antonios Proestakis, Policy Analyst, Competence Centre on Behavioural Insights, JRC, Rachel Gray, Behaviour Change Manager, WRAP and Rob Moore, Director, Behaviour Change and moderated by CSCP’s Mariana Nicolau. Key messages from the discussion included the need for developing and testing behavior change interventions on the ground, and for science-based policy making when aiming to change the way citizens act. Also, ensuring that the approaches are socially inclusive and that the pressure for solving climate change is not put solely on the individual.

The Academy of Change pilots, conducted by Greenpeace Spain in Madrid to increase plant-based diets in canteens, by Friends of Nature in China in Beijing to save energy at the household level, as well as by Verbraucher Intitiative in Berlin to reduce household food waste, presented their work and gave participants the chance to interact with some of the intervention material. Additional interactive sessions were given by the INHERIT project on healthy, sustainable and equitable lifestyles, the Parents project on energy saving with the help of smart metering and CIDSE’s movie Energy to Change.

The Academy of Change team also announced that two more rounds of the Academy programme on behavioural insights will be offered for NGOs working on climate and sustainability topics and the call for application will be reopened in the coming weeks. If you are working for an NGO and interested in the programme, you can already register your interest here.

The Academy of Change will continue to work for another two more years with a renewal of funding from the KR Foundation. If you are not an NGO, but you are interested in bringing the Academy of Change to other groups, then please get in touch with Mariana Nicolau.

For more information please contact Mariana Nicolau.

Looking for new and insightful approaches to enable change towards the circular behaviours that really matter? Today is your chance to express your interest to become a club member of the Consumer Insight Action Panel.

EU policies and decision-makers have recognised the importance of understanding and integrating consumer knowledge and behavioural insights into the circular economy transition. Despite the importance of consumer insights, there is little research or action on behaviour change with specific regard to the circular economy, and the need to consider behavioural and consumption aspects is still largely overlooked within circular strategies.

To address this gap, the CSCP and Sitra are setting up the Consumer Insight Action Panel, as part of their contribution to the European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform Coordination Group a joint initiative by the European Commission and the European Economic and Social Committee. The objective of the Consumer Insight Action Panel is to translate consumer needs and behavioural knowledge with specific regard to the circular economy in Europe into impact-oriented and consumer-relevant policy recommendations, business innovations and civil society actions towards the circular economy. In other words, our main objective is to enable change towards circular behaviours that really matter.

This new European initiative is designed to support the transition to the circular economy by generating, applying and testing consumer behavioural insights in circular strategies for textiles, plastics and electronics. The Expression of Interest is now open and 30 organisations will be selected to join the initiative.

The work will be carried out in clubs, which are exclusive groups of high-level stakeholders committed to leading the work of generating and integrating consumer behavioural insights into successful circular economy strategies. Each club will be sector-focused and composed of max. 10 members, including businesses, policy makers, NGOs, researchers and cities, dedicated to exchange knowledge, benchmark existing solutions, prototype and test innovations and lead the circular consumer interface work. The sectors of focus will be textiles, electronics and plastics. You can find more details about the Consumer Insight Action Panel here.

Due to the limited number of spaces in the initiative, club members will be selected through an open Expression of Interest process, to ensure a fair, transparent and high-quality selection procedure. Are you interested in joining an exclusive group of pioneering stakeholders driving behavioural knowledge and behaviour change towards the circular economy transition in Europe? Are you keen to have access to beyond state-of-the-art knowledge on behavioural insights and behaviour change in view of your concrete circular economy challenges? Interested in contributing to the development and improvement of circular policies, business innovation and CSO initiatives? Express your interest now, we are looking forward to working with you. Expressions of Interest can be sent until 31 July 2019.

The Consumer Insight Action Panel is a non-profit initiative of the Collaborating Centre on Sustainable Consumption and Production (CSCP) and the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra.

Send your Expression of Interest here.

For more information please contact Mariana Nicolau.

For cities, the circular economy approach does not only offer completely new ways to a sustainable future and a better quality of life for their citizens, but also unimagined economic potential. In June, the CSCP held a one-day Circular Cities Workshop at the Wuppertal office, which brought together many stakeholders such as city representatives, companies, and policymakers to discuss ideas and approaches on how to make cities more circular.

The workshop participants were introduced to the topic through the presentation of recent case studies from the CSCP’s projects – R2Pi and the Guidebook Circular Cities (which will be published later this month in our library). The topic of circular economy was further explored through group work where the participants discussed ways to improve circularity in Bonn and Gelsenkirchen.

By setting forth essential questions that enable the transformation to circular cities, two interactive sessions were conducted – how do I make a city circular? systematically discovering approaches and possibilities and what is actually possible and how do I start? – the development of a strategy. This gave the participants ideas to establish a systematic approach to circularity through impact-oriented collaborative action. For example, sharing innovative energy solutions such as hydrogen, have helped to shape concrete endeavours in new business models.

The workshop was a success and more workshops under the theme of ‘circular cities’ are being planned in the future.

Please contact Janpeter Beckmann for further questions.

“Do you need light bulbs or light?” This quote by Robert Metzke, Philips AG was one of the central questions regarding the circular economy at the Circular Economy Entrepreneurs Conference in Langenthal, Switzerland. Organised by the Swiss Economic Forum, The CSCP played an active role in this conference and led a deep dive session on the consumers’ role and responsibilities in the circular economy.

“If you look after me, I’ll look after you” was the slogan under which Ken Webster from the University of Exeter presented the basic principles of the circular economy, which is reduce, reuse and recycle. Through this, he also reminded us that we only have one earth to live on.

In addition to discussions on circularity and entrepreneurship, many innovative start-ups also had the opportunity to present their products and services. One example is HeiQ Materials GmbH, which produces innovative, resource-saving and recyclable textiles. They were awarded the Swiss Environmental Award for the Economy at the conference.

One of the main challenges regarding the circular economy is how to bring these innovative ideas to the (mass) market, and CSCP’s deep dive session on Consumer Responsibility had a few solutions regarding this.

To stick to the theme of the circular economy and the “reuse” principle, the conference took place in an old market hall which had no air conditioning. Since it was over 35°C, this was quite a challenge for the 350 participants who were able to bear the warm weather. This shows the relevance of the topic and the interest of the (Swiss) economy.

If you are interested in circular solutions, the CSCP can support you with collaborative processes, co-creation formats and developing circular business models.

Contact Imke Schmidt

photo Ⓒ NZZ Mediengruppe | 2019

European households produce between 118 and 138 million tonnes of biowaste every year. Biowaste is a valuable resource and can be transformed into green energy, organic fertilizer, feed, biopesticides, bioplastics and many other bio-based products. However, the biowaste management process from collection to treatment and disposal must be optimised to reduce greenhouse gases emissions.

Improving biowaste collection and valorisation is also in line with European Circular Economy Package published in December 2015. Transition to a circular economy will require changes in the whole value chain; in product design identifying new methods turning waste into products, new business and market models and changes in consumer behaviour.

During the EU Green Week partner event, several EU projects and networks presented their work on biowaste. SCALIBUR – Leading a revolution in biowaste recycling, a project the CSCP has partnered in was also presented at this event. The CSCP’s Rosa Strube shed light on the importance of understanding consumer behaviour related to waste at the household level and recycling the different types of waste. As understood, the behaviour on household waste separation usually differs greatly and innovative methods for understanding real household behaviours is needed. To design interventions on the municipality level, tools can go beyond pure information campaigns and include social norms and elements of fun. The CSCP will be shaping these processes for the three pilot municipalities Madrid (Spain), Albano (Italy) and Kozani (Greece) to become innovators in transforming their biowaste into value-added products and pave the way for a bio-based economy.

The SCALIBUR project will be carried out by 21 partners based in Spain, Greece, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Sweden, Belgium, the Czech Republic, and Ireland over a period of four years. SCALIBUR plans a Europe-wide expansion by inspiring a revolution in urban biowaste recycling and circular economy in Europe. The funding for this project will be allocated by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 framework.

For more information please contact Rosa Strube.

The 3rd World Circular Economy Forum (WCEF) took place in June 2019 in Helsinki and brought together about 2200 key circular economy thinkers from across the globe. Hosted by Sitra, this year’s forum laid a strong emphasis on the next era of the circular economy and scaling up the transition.

European Union (EU) policies and decision makers have already recognised the importance of understanding and integrating consumer knowledge and behavioural insights into the circular economy transition. Despite the importance of insights in consumer behaviour, there is little research or action on behaviour change with specific regard to the circular economy, and the need to consider behavioural and consumption aspects is still largely overlooked within circular strategies.

To address this gap, the CSCP and Sitra kicked off a joint project in a side session called the Consumer Insight Action Panel borne out of their roles in the European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform Coordination Group. The welcome and introductory panel was led by the CSCP’s Executive Director Michael Kuhndt, Sitra’s Markus Terho, Project Director Resource-wise Citzen, and Cillian Lohan, CEO of the Green Economy Foundation.

The side session focused on the work and engagement opportunities of the circular economy Consumer Insight Action Panel. The CSCP jointly explored circular economy challenges related to textiles, plastics and electronics with potential to be better understood and addressed based on behavioural insights and from a consumer perspective.

The WCEF is the global initiative of the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra. The WCEF2019 was hosted by Sitra and co-organised with selected international partners.

For further questions, please contact Mariana Nicolau