Focus panel 14 – From Anthropocene to Cyclocene – Will circular economy keep us within planetary boundaries?
Can the clean tech industry be both helpful and a threat for our planetary boundaries? After all, we will not solve environmental challenges by e.g. only replacing diesel with electric cars - because there are too many cars and too few resources. The circular economy is supposed to offer better solutions, but which are the possible limits and dangers? Crises, like the Covid-19 Pandemic and the Russian invasion into Ukraine illustrate the societal costs of highly and irresponsibly unequal overuse of resources, leading to dependency and weakness. There are alternative and more rational solutions to use resources. Countries like Austria have set ambitious material demand reduction targets. Some industries are working on a more circular economy. However, which regulatory framework is needed to turn this into a socially just and environmentally responsible solution? Could a material footprint indicator - and a reduction target based on it - take away the life-threatening pressure on ecosystems all over the world, being often a collateral damage of the current mining boom? This panel will discuss whether and how the EU and its MSs can set ambitious material reduction targets – with or without the growth paradigm.
This panel aims at looking for solutions to societal challenges that do not depend on their correlation to GDP growth. The circular economy has very promising potential, but much of this potential remains untapped as long as the circular economy is just a tool to grow GDP. Setting the right targets will be key to ensure that the circular economy is part of the solutions we need.
- Manuela Ripa - MEP (Greens/EFA), Beyond Growth Conference organiser
- Kate Raworth - Senior Associate, Oxford University
- Nick Meynen - Senior Policy Officer for systemic change, European Environmental Bureau (EEB)
- Mathias Miedreich - CEO of Umicore
- Michael Braungart - Professor, holder of the Cradle to cradle Chair, University of Lüneburg
- Román Arjona - Chief Economist at the Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs.
Chief Economist at the Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs.