Holland Circular Hotspot

World Circular Economy Forum 2019

The World Circular Economy Forum 2019 in Helsinki brought together around 2,000 key circular economy thinkers and doers from around the world.

On Monday 3 June we kicked off the forum together with Circle Economy and 12 Circular Hotspots from around the world with the side session: Scaling up circular economy in cities. Read the blog of Freek van Eijk (HCH) and Hayley Bagnall (Circle Economy) about the outcomes: Scaling up circular cities.

Holland Circular Hotspot had a great spot at the meeting point in the expo area, together with the Embassy of the Netherlands in Finland! Check out our video Let’s make the circular shift together!

At the WCEF Grand Opening Minister for the Environment, Stientje van Veldhoven, talked about ‘Scaling up – global solutions’. On June 4 she spoke at the side session on metrics and data: “It would be fantastic if we could agree an international approach for monitoring the circular economy.” Find her full speech here.


Scaling up Circular Cities

In the city, everything comes together. Cities are places where a vast majority of us live and work. They create the social and economic fabric for human ingenuity, the crucible in which to forge our common future.

That is why Holland Circular Hotspot (HCH) and Circle Economy (CE) are teaming up to host a dedicated session during the World Circular Economy Forum. Our theme? How to scale circular cities.

We are working at the centre of many converging debates about the future of cities — the smart city, sustainable cities, resilient and climate-adaptive cities. Each has a claim to be among the most important topics for urban policymaking, with powerful implications for the built environment, energy and mobility.

Finding coherent responses to these big, interlinked questions requires a systemic approach. The urban circular economy is essential to achieving our climate goals and the SDGs.

We see the circular economy as an inspiring concept, to define new economic and social models within planetary boundaries. The myriad ways that people and businesses interact are ripe with opportunity. The commitment from all stakeholders must be equal to the scale and complexity of the challenge.

The World Circular Economy Forum

In our upcoming side session at WCEF on June 3rd 2019, we will think together to answer the question: “How can we make cities more circular, in both developed and developing countries?”

From a cities perspective we’ll explore how the circular economy can start small and deliver results ‘close to home’, creating new pathways for collaboration to preserve and create value. Examples such as revitalised building, meaningful jobs and improved mobility are powerful drivers for innovation.

By joining forces Holland Circular Hotspot, Circle Economy, Circular Change SloveniaCircular Norway, TCEN/ITRI, Exchange4Change Brasil, Polish Circular Hotspot (Innowo), Zero Waste Scotland, Amsterdam Economic Board, Circular Friesland, African CE Network, OREE, L’institut national de l’économie circulaire, Circular Economy Platform of the Americas (CEPA) we’ll generously share insights, build new networks and pool resources.  

We hope our collective learning from these sessions will help you to kickstart circular development in your city.

We’re expecting generative discussions around key topics which we’ll capture and later share in the public domain!

  • 1:  Actions from municipalities in developed countries (Zero Waste Scotland, INEC)

How might cities in developing countries accelerate the adoption of circularity by businesses and citizens?

  • 2: Actions from municipalities in developing countries  ( ACEN, CEPA)

What does it mean for municipalities in developing countries to support the transition towards the circular economy?

  • 3: How regions can accelerate Circular Economy (co-sharing Amsterdam Economic Board, Circular Friesland)

What role do regions have in accelerating the adoption of the circular economy?

  • 4: Actions from businesses (co-sharing OREE, EX4CB)

How might businesses adopt circularity in their operations? And what support is required?

  • 5: Circular Culture, engagement of different stakeholders for the circular transition (Circular Change)

What does it mean to have a Circular Culture? How might we support the creation of a Circular Culture?

  • 6: The role of knowledge institutes (Polish Circular Hotspot/Innowo, TCEN/TTRI)

What is the role of knowledge institutes to accelerate the circular economy?

  • 7: The role of CE Hotspots (HCH, Circular Norway)

What are the conditions needed to make the network work  and act like a catalyst for circular development?

  • 8: Circular economy action based on the City Doughnut  (Circle Economy)

What does it mean for a city to develop strategies and policy based on the doughnut framework?

  • Our workshops will assess the record of municipalities in developed countries

Crucial role for the public sector

The public sector has a crucial role to play. Local governments set the ambition, and define challenges in ways that are manageable and measurable. Policy-makers set boundary conditions, nurture experimentation and generate ‘pull’ factors for circular initiatives through public procurement.

  • In developing country cities we will explore the scope for regulations to shape government-driven actions such as waste management, involving both the formal and informal sectors.
  • We will examine the role for value-chains which stretch beyond city limits, where urban policy can combine with a regional approach.
  • Actions from businesses are essential. Local entrepreneurs have the guts and imagination to take risks, invest, accelerate change and are responsible for the largest part of scaling up the circular economy in cities.
  • We will discuss how to create a circular culture of meaningful participation for citizens and residents, to stimulate the engagement of different stakeholders for the circular transition.
  • Researchers and knowledge institutes can develop new insights and tools, validate ideas and boost awareness. Educating the leaders, and consumers, of the future is another essential step, while making sure no-one gets left behind.

The principle of extending the lifecycle for materials – to keep the value of products and materials in the loop at their highest value for as long as possible – is central to the vision of a Circular Economy. So too is the transition to renewable energy, respect for biodiversity, societal balance and social inclusion.

The goal ahead is to create the space at WCEF for the 14 participating organisations from around the world to share extensive know-how, and idea network on ways forward that lead Cities — within each region, and beyond — towards practical action!

The challenge ahead is unprecedented, and urgent. Our working sessions will harness the power of collaboration by sharing ideas and exchanging best practice. Inspiration strikes. Demand spreads. Good ideas can jump from neighbourhood to neighbourhood, each in their own context and with their own local hero.



Download the Circular Cities Brochure from Holland Circular Hotspot and Circle Economy here.

Circular Hotspots at the WCEF


Stimulating circular hubs and hotspots to collaborate promises to accelerate time to market for new economic initiatives, give a boost to innovation and bring solutions for the societal goals within reach.

Freek van Eijk, Director Holland Circular Hotspot