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Not only market barriers, but also cultural barriers hamper the development of a Circular Economy (CE) in the European Union. That is a main finding of joint research carried out among CE-experts from all over the EU.
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The research was conducted by The Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Utrecht University and Deloitte. For this, 153 Businesses and 55 government workers were interviewed. All respondents are Circular Economy experts, with 82% of them working on this subject in their daily jobs.

Hype or niche

The market barriers identified are low virgin material prices and high upfront investments costs for circular business models. The cultural barriers consist of lacking consumer interest and awareness, as well as a hesitant company culture. These barriers are at odds with claims that the circular economy concept is hyped; rather, it may be a niche discussion among sustainable development professionals.

To overcome the market barriers, the researchers state that government intervention might be needed. This then may also help to overcome cultural barriers.

Largest dataset

The researchers claim to have collected the largest dataset collected on the Circular Economy so far. Results are recently published in a white paper to ensure the rapid dissemination. This paper will be followed by a more in-depth working paper, later this year.

More information on the white paper titled ‘Breaking the Barriers to the Circular Economy’ can be found on the website of Deloitte.