With over 40 enterprises from the building and automobile industries having confirmed their participation in the CEWI project by September 2021, the first of three planned workshops took place in Berlin on 7 and 8 October. Their shared goal: to develop inspiring project ideas for a climate-neutral and resource-efficient economy.
The broad spectrum of enterprises (from along the value chains in the automobile and building industries) with interest and experience in the circular economy made clear the eagerness of businesses and industry to engage in circular economy business models in implementing climate neutrality and resource efficiency.
Prior to the idea development portion of the event, it kicked off with some time for the project participants to get to know each other and to share their thoughts on possible areas of action to address in the CEWI project. To establish a shared foundational understanding, the participants actively discussed existing problems and possible solutions. As preparation, the CEWI team had prepared input papers on the various fields as well as educational videos on the circular economy that explained the promises it holds for businesses.
Project Ideas from the Workshops
In the workshops that followed, the participants had the opportunity to discuss their ideas and the problems they see. The ideas they developed over the two days are as diverse as the areas of action from the building and automobile sectors. While concrete spatial ideas were discussed (including the “Youth Hostel for Future” and an industry-spanning facility for reclaiming value from old vehicles), both sectors also articulated necessary steps in the direction of policy and business. They emphasised the necessity of planning security for businesses that wish to transition to circular economic models (e.g., position papers for the holistic approaches of a circular economy in the buildings sector and a policy roadmap to fully circular automobiles). The digitalization of built materials was also further considered (e.g., Reuse IT tool).
The groups have committed to further develop their project ideas by the second workshop on 26 and 27 January 2022 and are in the process of establishing collaborative partnerships.
Digital Product Passport: Practical Test in Industry
In advance of the workshop, a group of participants from the automobile industry had formed a group to discuss the possibilities of digital product passports and developed joint proposals on its efficacy and dissemination. With a view to the government coalition talks in Germany in autumn 2021, this collaboration led to a paper that outlines aspects vital to the successful establishment of such a passport, as well as providing recommendations for the new legislative session. Among other things, it recommends improved coordination between national and European initiatives in pursuit of the digital product passport. In addition, companies should be closely consulted on the implementation of the passport and large-scale, practice-oriented model projects should begin as soon as possible.