WP 3 – Understanding the public sector engagement with the CE

Led by New University of Lisbon with Hull and Ud’A

Partner: National ministry of the Environment.

WP3 explores the role of public sector organisations and their public policies, plans and operational activities for circular economy concepts.  Attention to date on the circular economy has been largely confined to the private sector, especially manufacturing.  However, a full circular economy requires input also from the public sector, both in terms of its relationship to the private sector (e.g., through both purchasing and regulation) and also its own operational activity.  These changes may impact significantly on relationships between the two sectors, as well as necessitating new tools for measuring performance within the public sector.

Aim: to examine public sector engagement with the CE via the objectives 1) – to examine the extent to which public sector bodies incorporate CE practices into their own behaviour and the role of policies and practices in bringing this about? 2) What indicators are useful in measuring the extent of circularity in public sector organisations?

WP3 includes two ESR posts, with individual projects as follows:

ESR 3.1 Circular Economy Approaches in Public Sector Organisations: From Operational to Strategic level

First supervisor Ramos, New University of Lisbon; co-supervisor Deutz, Hull

Based in Lisbon with secondments in Portugal and UK

This project identifies the circular economy initiatives and approaches, including policies, practices and tools, adopted by public sector organizations in their operational and strategic activities. Using questionnaires and interviews, this research will analyse the types of public sector interventions currently underway to the transition towards CE schemes, inside, outside and across the public sector frontiers. The project will analyse the interrelationship between public and private sector initiatives and strategies.

  1. Identify circular economy initiatives and approaches, adopted by public sector organizations in their operational and strategic activities;
  2. Assess the general state of CE integration and engagement in public sector organisations and the success of implementation and the integration of CE concepts, principles, guidelines and recommendations in public strategies and policies;
  3. Analyse how governmental CE policies, plans, recommendations and initiative are impacting business sector and the other way around.

ESR 3.2 A Participatory Indicator Approach

First supervisor Ramos, New University of Lisbon; co-supervisor Raggi, “G d’Annunzio” Pescara

Based in Lisbon with secondments in Portugal and Italy

This project will design and develop a conceptual framework for assessing and reporting circular economy performance in public organisations, through a participatory indicator approach. This research, with the engagement of public sector organisations, will consider how to include performance objectives, targets and indicators to characterise the organisation’s performance, towards a CE at operational (daily activities, practices and approaches) and strategic levels (strategies, policies and plans), and the associations with the surrounding context (institutional, social-cultural, economic, and environmental).

  1. Design and develop a conceptual framework for assessing and reporting circular economy performance in public organisations, through a participatory indicator approach;
  2. Develop indicators for evaluation and reporting of CE performance in public organisations;
  3. Select and develop CE performance objectives targets and indicators for the operational and strategic levels, involving stakeholders and ensuring their engagement in the performance assessment and reporting of CE (in the different indicator stages: design, development, implementation and operation);
  4. Analyse how public organisations do respond to formal and/or informal internal and external performance reporting;
  5. Develop approaches to avoid distorting efforts by application of objectives, targets and indicators.