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04.01.2017 | Review | Ausgabe 3/2017 Open Access

Clean Technologies and Environmental Policy 3/2017

Circular economy indicators in relation to eco-innovation in European regions

Clean Technologies and Environmental Policy > Ausgabe 3/2017
Marzena Smol, Joanna Kulczycka, Anna Avdiushchenko


The concept of a circular economy (CE) has become popular and important issue in environmental management in recent years; however, there are not particular indicators dedicated to it in regional policy. CE approach is an industrial system that is restorative by design, and it emphasises that it is important that, rather than extracting natural resources, the materials that have already been taken can and should be recovered and reused in different ways, thereby securing natural resources from over-exploitation. In order to meet CE assumptions, modern and innovative technologies that allow for the recovery of valuable materials should be developed. This also applies to eco-innovation that connects technology development with environmental aspects. It is therefore obvious that issues of CE and eco-innovation are linked, and a uniform methodology aimed at compare the levels of moving to CE including eco-innovation solutions should be established. Because the focus in European Union (EU) has been paid on regions, measuring of CE–eco-innovations levels is especially important at the regional level. In this paper, the proposals of CE indicators, based on eco-innovation factors, which can be possible to create based on existing data set (Eurostat, Cohesion policy) are presented. It is recommend to use of five group indicators for measuring regional CE–eco-innovation. Based on Eco-Innovation Scoreboard which describes innovation measurement, three of proposed indicator groups are associated directly with innovations, taking into account the principles of CE: CE–eco-innovation inputs, CE–eco-innovation activities and CE–eco-innovation outputs, and other two groups of indicators are effects of the CE–eco-innovation introduction: resource efficiency outcomes and socio-economic outcomes. This way of measuring CE–eco-innovation allows for create holistic, systematic and integrated approach for the CE concept at the regional level. Proposed indicators can be used in current transition stage for assessment of implementation regional policy and as a base for creation final CE indicators.

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