Circular Economy Club (CEC) "European Cities" Chapter During Local Sessions
Organisation : Circular Economy Club , United Kingdom

Circular Economy Club (CEC) is the international network of circular economy professionals. With CEC local chapters in 240 cities worldwide, 82 of which are in Europe (e.g.: Berlin, Helsinki, Madrid, Prague, Sofia, Torino, etc). CEC organizers gather local communities to implement circularity and run global initiatives such as the Circular Economy Mapping Week 2018, resulting in the largest open-source database of +3,000 initiatives. And the annual and decentralized event: Circular Cities Week (CCW) happening in more than 40 European cities where professionals identify circular opportunities and will both urge and support their Mayors to issue local circular strategies.

Agendas addressed
DecarbonisationClimate changeSocial inclusion and integration
Local economies and employment
Pathways followed
  • Ensure equal access to municipal services
  • Involve citizens through participatory implementation
  • Encourage local private and civic engagement
  • Promote social innovation supporting inclusion
  • Nurture a sharing economy
  • Capitalise on local economy and production
  • Create and close local value chains
  • Apply innovative financing approaches
  • Implement sustainable procurement principles
  • Pursue a shift towards a circular economy
  • Wisely select and apply smart technologies
  • Accelerate sustainability and innovation through public procurement
  • Guarantee equal access to information & digital services
  • Support open data standards
  • Prepare policies for socio-cultural changes due to innovation
Anna Tari at Mapping Week London February 2018

The problem we are helping to address is the disconnectedness of the circular community and lack of civic engagement in economic-related issues. We are canalizing civil engagement through our CEC global events as they take place in multiple cities at the same time and are attended by high-level officials as well as by regular citizens. Citizens find a platform to voice their thoughts about transforming their cities and can be part of the design of the solutions. The CEC envisions a world in which every city functions and prospers through circularity, ending the age of waste. An ambitious goal such as this requires clarity and clearly defined deadlines. Global initiatives such as the Circular Mapping and Circular Cities Weeks provide this critical framework which encourage a sense of urgency and purpose designed to help stakeholders identify opportunities and challenges for supporting the development of circularity at the city government level. 

In Action
Mapping Week Copenhagen February 2018

Our coordinated decentralized initiatives include the Circular Economy Mapping Week in Feb 2018. During the period of a week, CEC Organizers in 44 European (e.g.: Lisbon, London, Tolouse,etc) cities set up group sessions to identify the circular initiatives happening near them in different sectors (e.g.: transport, manufacturing) and across circular strategies (e.g.: circular design, new business models). Local sessions included stakeholders from the public and private sectors as well as academia and non-profits. CEC provided local organizers with vast promotion through the CEC channels as well as clear guidelines and a toolkit to assist in running the event step by step. 

The CE Mapping Week achieved three clear outcomes: a) bringing together +2,000 circular enthusiasts to discuss the latest circular initiatives happening in their cities; b) creating an online free database of +3,000 circular initiatives globally, and c) designing the “Circular Cities Week”, the current CEC global citizen-led initiative that urges and supports Mayors to issue circular local strategies across +40 cities in Europe.

Some of the feedback from city representatives present in the sessions across cities was:

“After presenting the CEC mapping exercise and open-source database at the Royal Academy of Engineering international Circular Economy Symposium, the feedback was brilliant, people loved the information and want to engage and share this resource. It is encouraging to see the real value we are adding when we come together in a joint global effort.” David Greenfield, CEC London Organizer and CEC External Affairs for Europe - Executive Director at SOENECS

“Excitement was paramount during the Circular Economy Mapping Week, as CEC offered a real opportunity to not only have the regional experts talk to each other, but it also gave them an opportunity to showcase what is being done in our dynamic region while gaining expertise from other cities around the globe. A true collaborative approach where the CEC brings a clear added value.” Alexandre Lemille, CEC Lille Organizer and CEO of WizeImpact

“The CEC team did a great job putting the circular economy on the map, locally and globally. Mostly having been a decentralised bottom-up action one can see the diversity and creativity in approaches, which is what we need at uncertain times; 'out of the box' thinking with no prescribed solutions or specific interest groups pushing the agenda! A much-needed initiative, thanks to the CEC.” Sharam Yalda, CEC Mentor and Executive partner at Soros Gabinete

Mapping Week Munich February 2018

The results of the CEC global initiatives have been so far:

  • Built a community of +40,000 followers who engage in daily updates from CEC on circular news as well as a circular job offers across Europe, latest news from the EIB, the EU Circular Package, and any of the latest circular news.

  • Creating the largest free open-source database of +3,000 initiatives worldwide from which 1,837 are from Europe with the highest numbers were led by the private sector (1,248), non-profit (241) and governments (118). The database has served as a tool for researchers, teachers, businesses and city leaders who needed case studies to find circular applied examples.

  • Bringing together +2,000 citizens in different strong local networks (in 44 European cities) to clarify the circular economy framework and what it means in practice.

  • Screened the Ellen MacArthur Foundation “ThinkDIF circular innovation online festival” in over 50 cities where +2,500 citizens discussed how to bring those ideas to their respective cities.

  • Screened the “Closing the Loop Documentary” in over 80 cities where +4,000 citizens (again, including public and private sector as well as academia) learnt about the direct implementation of the circular economy.

  • Gathered 40 European CEC Organizers which will bring the Circular Cities Week to their cities and host multi-stakeholder sessions to identify local circular solutions and will send all the conclusions to their municipalities, together with a letter urging and assisting their Mayors to issue local circular strategies with clear deadlines for implementation.


Organizing circular decentralized initiatives allows a citizen-led structure to provide expertise and feedback to our city councils across Europe. These initiatives cannot only urge Mayors to launch circular strategies at a local level but also assist them, resulting in very specific benefits in social, economical and environmental terms.

Our focus at the moment is urging municipalities to issue circular local strategies that are aligned to the EU Circular Economy Package principles and goals. Therefore our key indicator is a) the number of municipalities that commit to issue a local strategy as a result of the initiative taking place in over 40 European cities, and b) the number of local strategies issued by municipalities within 2 years from the global action.

Other impacts resulting from our activity is the increased visibility to circular economy job opportunities, events, learning materials, latest news, new legislation and policy briefings as well as funding opportunities. This transfer of information to the whole circular community is paramount. We regularly receive feedback about how much CEC supports members through giving access to all opportunities and information.

The mission and expected impact of all initiatives, and specifically of the Circular Cities Week, is putting an end to the age of waste across cities. Citizens have to be included in the design and deployment of strategies in their cities, and that is why we are bringing them on board in over 44 European cities at the moment. Participants in our sessions fill the Circular City Canvas to identify top sectors and environmental impacts in their cities, solutions, stakeholders to bring on board and next steps for the local group to help implement circularity. All information is combined in an open-data report which is sent to city councils, assisting in their development of circular local strategies.  

Challenges and lessons learned
Mapping Week Amsterdam February 2018

Top lessons learned when bringing a circular citizen-led movement together:

  • Finding a global platform with local roots is crucial for citizens from all cities to feel included and feel they can learn from others away.
  • Work hard to ensure all communications are explicit in the fact that circularity is more than “recycling”, it is about redesigning our systems so that we do not generate waste in the first place.
  • How disconnected the citizen base is from their municipalities. We work hard to ensure the presence of different stakeholders in all sessions to take into account different perspectives.  




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