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CircLean launch event

CircLean officially hosted its launch event during the EU Industry days on 23 February 2021. Over 160  participants were able to discover how this initiative, led by DG GROW, can foster the uptake of industrial symbiosis in Europe through a variety of tools.

Objectives of the CircLean Network on Industrial Symbiosis

Fulvia Raffaelli, Head of DG GROW’s Unit on Circular Economy and Construction, started the event by presenting the project’s objectives. Considering the European Green Deal and the Circular Economy Action Plan, it is important to keep addressing Europe’s limited resources, she pointed out. Industrial symbiosis is in line with the circular economy approach that aims at keeping resources in productive use longer. Accordingly, with the CircLean project, the European Commission wants industrial and other relevant stakeholders to develop, endorse, and apply a voluntary common approach to the monitoring and reporting of industrial symbiosis transactions. To that end, CircLean’s tools and methodologies will be refined and adapted in close cooperation with the stakeholders that will engage in the network. This is also expected to contribute to increase businesses competitiveness, foster green-growth and eco-innovation and shift to circular economy models. By the end of the project in 2023, the Commission wants the CircLean network to be self-sustaining and become the leading resource for industrial symbiosis transactions in Europe.

The potential of Industrial Symbiosis

Following the introduction from the EC representative, Laurent Zibell, senior circular economy consultant at Trinomics presented how the potential of industrial symbiosis can lead to a cost reduction (avoided landfill) of 73 billion EUR in Europe, profitable opportunities for EU companies involved in circular business models based on industrial symbiosis, and an overall boost to climate neutrality. He underlined that to ensure industrial symbiosis transactions an agreement between suppliers and users must be found that considers the quality of the secondary raw materials, their quantity and delivery parameters, as well as a price that makes the trade possible.

Testimonials from CircLean Members (representing EIT Raw Materials, ART-ER, and ORÉE) intervened to share with the audience the reasons why they joined the network, stressing how CircLean contributes to address and overcome the challenge of finding use cases for secondary raw materials transactions, matching supply of suitable resources with demand, and measuring the environmental achievements of such exchanges.


The roundtables were moderated by Rachel Lombardi from International Strategies. Together, the panellists exchanged views and concluded that both public authorities and industrial clusters have an important role to play in promoting industrial symbiosis practices. Regional and local authorities can set an example by further integrating industrial symbiosis into green procurement practices. Furthermore, local, and regional authorities have a key role to play in the development of territorial strategies that contribute to sustainable development and promote industrial symbiosis. They need to give a clear vision to the relevant stakeholders about the opportunities related to industrial symbiosis and about existing support from the authorities to engage in such practices. Industrial clusters also have a role to play in the promotion of the uptake of industrial symbiosis. They have, for instance, the potential to leverage technology transfer to ensure that technologies are not segregated in a specific industrial park.

The panellists also emphasised the importance of having a one-stop-shop for circular economy products and industrial symbiosis in Europe. From a political point of view – they argued – we should have a single market in Europe for industrial symbiosis. Likewise, it is better not to have a fragmented solution from a business perspective.

How to join the CircLean Network

The event concluded with a presentation of how to join the CircLean network.

Thank you to the representatives from DG GROW and DG JRC, as well as to experts from A.SPIRE, ACR+, Chemie Cluster Bayern, ACCIONA, the Irish Southern Region Waste Management Office, SINTEF Industry, European Powder Metallurgy Association, FUNDECYT/PCTEX, the University of Leeds, and the EU Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform for having contributed to the event.