The role of circularity in Europe’s green transition/

Organiser: FORESIGHT Climate & Energy in partnership with ABB and VELUX

Event Detail



30 May, 2024


FORESIGHT Climate & Energy in partnership with ABB and VELUX






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As Europe transitions to a climate-neutral economy by 2050, the principles of circularity are a powerful approach to cutting emissions, reducing waste, and enhancing sustainability.

Embracing a circular economy would see Europe shift from its linear produce-consume-dispose economic model to a new approach that keeps materials in the supply chain for as long as possible. Circularity ensures we stay within our planetary limits by reducing resource extraction while decreasing dependence on imported raw materials as an additional benefit.

To boost circularity, EU legislators recently introduced updated “eco-design” legislation to ensure the longevity of the goods we consume. The new rules will make products easier to repair and recycle while promoting greater energy efficiency.

By introducing digital “product passports”, the new rules will also boost consumers’ awareness of the environmental impact of products they purchase, allowing them to choose greener options. The legislation is part of a Europe-wide move to embed circularity principles in everyday life.

For industry, meeting the requirements of the circular transition often means adopting a new approach to product development and disposal – a shift that presents both challenges and new business opportunities.

Circularity is additionally gaining traction in Europe’s construction sector. Half of global raw materials extraction goes into the built environment, generating one-third of global overall waste. The continent’s built environment is responsible for around 40% of current energy usage and 37% of CO2 emissions. Tackling it, therefore, is critical to succeeding with the green transition.

One way is to significantly increase the share of recycled and secondary materials, finding new life in circular construction projects rather than adding them to landfills.

Following important updates to legislation such as the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, which aims to green our building stock, and the Construction Products Regulation, which improves the functioning of the construction single market, experts have started to call for the introduction of measures specifically aimed at ramping up circularity in the built environment.

Studies suggest sluggish progress despite the many positives of shifting to a circular economy. A recent report from the European Environment Agency found that the bloc has only a low or moderate chance of reaching its circularity ambitions.

In practice, boosting the uptake of circularity will require embracing new business models, reevaluating our approach to “waste” materials and a supportive regulatory environment.

This event, organised by FORESIGHT Climate & Energy in partnership with ABB and VELUX, will dive into the pivotal role of circular economy principles in paving the way for a greener future.

Policymakers, business leaders and civil society will discuss the opportunities a circular future will bring and how Europe can transform towards a more circular approach.

Watt Matters Live: The event’s two panel discussions will be recorded live for the popular FORESIGHT podcast Watt Matters. It can be found on Apple, Spotify and all other podcast platforms.

Panel 1: How can eco-design boost Europe’s shift to circularity?

  1. EU legislators recently agreed on new eco-design rules that will encourage greater circularity. How will the ESPR contribute to Europe’s green objectives?
  2. Is industry ready to embrace the new circular economy?
  3. Critical raw materials play a significant role in clean energy technologies. How can we encourage circularity in the critical minerals supply chain?
  4. How can EU policymakers encourage a more circular approach on a global scale?


  • Emmanuelle Maire, HoU, DG ENV, Unit B1 Circular Economy, Sustainable Production & Consumption, European Commission
  • Ke Wang, Strategy Lead, Energy Minerals & Circularity, World Resources Institute
  • Erich Labuda, President, Motion Services Division at ABB


David Weston, Editor-in-Chief, FORESIGHT Climate & Energy

Panel 2: Shifting to circularity in the built environment

  1. How can regulation be evolved to shift construction towards circularity? Is current EU legislation compatible with our circularity aims?
  2. How can we valorise “waste” for reuse through better material recovery and storage practices?
  3. What are the primary barriers to industry players shifting towards circularity, and how do we overcome them?
  4. What does a robust circular business model look like?


  • Philippe Moseley, Team Leader, DG GROW, Unit H.1 – Construction, Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, European Commission
  • Julie Kjestrup, Head of Policy and Thought Leadership, VELUX Group
  • Adrian Hiel, Head of Campaigns and Media, Energy Cities


Sean Goulding Carroll, Cities & Buildings Editor, FORESIGHT Climate & Energy


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