Presenting Europe’s circular economy to the world – an international conversation at the World Expo in Dubai

January 19, 2022

The European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform, a joint initiative of the European Commission and the European Economic and Social Committee, hosted the Circular Europe Days event at the Expo 2020 Dubai on 17-18 January 2022. Stepping into the global arena, the event showed Europe’s willingness to foster international cooperation, especially in a time of post-pandemic awareness and recovery.

The event showcased Europe’s work for the transition to the circular economy and how it brings together stakeholders from across different sectors. The Circular Europe Days hosted eight events across the national pavilions of the Netherlands, Ireland, Poland, Slovenia, and Finland.


Circular Europe Days

On the 17th of January, The Netherlands hosted the official opening session for the Circular Europe Days and a session focusing on knowledge sharing and inspiration about Circular Opportunities in Building and Infrastructure at the Dutch Pavilion.

The power of European circular networks

The opening session highlighted the necessity of collaboration for circular transformation. Co-chairs Ladeja Godina Košir (Circular Change) and Freek van Eijk (Holland Circular Hotspot) guided participants through the role of network governance and circular hubs in the EU’s circular transition.

Martijn Lopes Cardozo, Circle Economy CEO, presented the findings of the Circularity Gap Report 2022 at the Expo 2020 Dubai and how circularity can unite businesses worldwide and inspire action towards a sustainable and inclusive future.

Our Supervisory Board Chair, Professor Jacqueline Cramer, presented the international lessons learned in her book on “Building a Circular Future: Ten Takeaways for Global Changemakers.”

Although, during a panelist round, The European Commission and States Representatives explored collaborative circular actions and opportunities post COVID-19, the impact of these hubs on the ground, giving cases, and sharing experiences.

Watch a 2-minute impression of the events that took place at The Netherlands Pavilion below!

"We must find a way to prosper together. This is precisely what the European Green Deal is about. The transition to the circular economy is at the heart of the European Green Deal to reach climate neutrality by 2050."

Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice President for the European Commission

Re-watch the full session: The power of European circular networks

Session: Circular Opportunities in Building and Infrastructure

In the session ‘Circular Opportunities in Building and Infrastructure,’ Holland Circular Hotspot brought together international experts to discuss circular solutions in building and infrastructure that can inspire the world and create opportunities for EU frontrunners.

The international brochure on the Dutch circular infrastructure ‘The road towards a sustainable future was launched during the session. The session was hosted by Freek Van Eijk, the Director of Holland Circular Hotspot, and the brochure was virtually handed from Prof. dr. ir. Vincent Gruis, the Professor of Housing Management from the Delft University of Technology, over to Roald Lapperre, Dutch vice-minister Environment and International Affairs, and a panel of EU and UAE officials representing the public and private sector.

Prof. dr. ir. Vincent Gruis explained that the report emphasizes the challenges that we already have, shows that some initiatives are already being taken in the Netherlands, and indicates the possibility of solutions to the problems. Roald Lapperre found the viaduct story interesting as it showcased how infrastructure such as a viaduct can become circular and extend the lifespan compared to conventional viaducts.

Panel discussions took place with EU and UAE officials representing the public and private sector:

– Josefina Lindblom, DG Environment of the European Commission, mentioned that the targets made for the transition to a circular economy were one of the main significant factors and indicated that it is imperative that the circular change should be made in the mainstream sector instead of just the innovative ones.

– Ingrid Thijssen, President of VNO-NCW, explained that she was proud to see the Dutch innovative companies and organizations taking circular initiatives described in the brochure and emphasized the importance of transitioning to a circular environment.

– Giancarlo Mangone, Head of Strategic Master Planning, ADNOC, mentioned that the largest savings and effectiveness is at the pre-design stage and indicated that countries such as the UAE has an opportunity in this due to their aspirations.

– Christine Lemaitre, Chief Executive Officer at DGNB German Sustainable Building Council, also mentioned the importance of raising awareness about the potential issues of the conventional infrastructure industry.

"There is that potential to create regional planning and looking at Circular Economy from a regional scale. The Dutch are great at the building scale and really making everything efficient as possible. But now we also need to look at the larger scale, because the biggest savings and effectiveness are actually at the pre-design stage"

Giancarlo Mangone, Head of Strategic Master Planning, ADNOC.

Re-watch session: Circular Opportunities in B&I

Dutch Virtual Gateway | Circular Plastics

We proudly present our first Virtual Reality (VR) experience on closing the loop on plastics at Expo2020Dubai. NLinBusiness launched our joint Virtual Gateway production on plastics at the Dutch pavilion.

This video is a virtual showcase of Dutch integrated solutions for global challenges. Accessible via VR headsets, but also online. The movie should inspire all actors (public, private, knowledge industries, and even consumers) to take action. It shows that a CE for plastics today can happen in every corner of the world and every part of the value chain.

Get inspired by the dutch companies mentioned in the video: The Great Bubble Barrier, Modulo, Sweep Smart, Bollegraaf, and Greentom.

Go to the Virtual Gateway NL platform for additional information.