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EU sustainability projects launched in the UK to look at supply chain and circular economy

Two major sustainability projects in the UK, assessing business supply chains and the circular economy, have been backed by the European Commission (EC).

In all, the EC has approved funding for 248 new projects under the EU’s LIFE+ programme, an environment fund.

The projects cover nature conservation, climate change, environmental policy and information and communication on environmental issues across all member states.

Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said: “The LIFE+ programme continues to provide vital funding for innovative projects. These new projects will make a big contribution to protecting, conserving and enhancing Europe’s natural capital. They will support the goal of turning the EU into a resource efficient, greener and more competitive low-carbon economy.”

Of the two schemes in the UK dealing with sustainability, one is in partnership with Wrap, the other is the Ellen MacAfrthur Foundation.

The Wrap project will demonstrate how businesses and their supply chains can implement ‘Resource Efficient Business Model’ (REBMs), which aid development of business growth within a more circular economy and will contribute to Government plans for waste prevention. It will focus on four markets: electrical and electronic products, clothing, furniture and construction products. The project will deliver 10 REBM pilots with major organisations and 20 with SMEs, with the aim of achieving 15% resource savings in the project lifetime.

WRAP will be leading a consortium of organisations from the UK and The Netherlands, which includes:

  • Rijkswaterstaat (RWS), responsible for delivering the pilots/demonstration activity in The Netherlands
  • C-Tech Innovation (ESKTN), who will ensure the results are widely disseminated
  • The University of Northampton (TUoN) who will lead on monitoring and evaluation
  • Aldersgate Group who will support the pilots and dissemination of the results

Wrap chief executive DR Liz Goodwin said: “We have been saying for some time – most recently at the time of the recent Whitehall Spending Review – that WRAP is actively pursuing a new business model where we can draw on more diverse sources of funding, and this latest award is a perfect example of this in action”

The Ellen MacArthur project is to demonstrate that the concept of a ‘circular economy’ offers a practical alternative to the linear approach. This will be trialled at company level and look to develop a metric for measuring the performance of enterprises and products in the context of the circular economy. The project will also develop and test an online tool for calculating the ‘circulatory’ of products.

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