WP 4 – Capturing the Benefits of Circularity

Led by Hull with Graz, Nova and UTT

Partners: City council, local social/environmental NGO and regional development agency

WP 4 examines how the economic benefits commonly considered to accompany the development of a Circular Economy are geographically and socially distributed.   Efforts to promote circular economy-related activity involve organisations from the community to national, and even international, scale, and range from purely voluntary to well-resourced governmental or corporate bodies.   Aside from the environmental benefits from resource efficiencies, these organisations are commonly assuming there will be economic advantages to themselves or their stakeholders.  The effectiveness of these efforts, the extent to which they are re-enforcing each other, or potentially competing for advantage is addressed by this WP.

Aim: to examine how the economic benefits commonly considered to accompany the development of a CE are geographically and socially distributed via the following objectives: 1) to examine the extent to which economic benefits can be captured in a specific place, using two cities in contrasting locations as case studies; 2) to investigate the impact of the CE on employment using a city-scale comparative analysis; 3) to examine the role of community led initiatives in the CE; 4) to analyse the relationships needed to build a CE within a region.

WP4 includes four ESR posts, with individual projects as follows:

ESR 4.1 Circular Economy as a sustainable economic development tool in a global economy

First supervisor Deutz, Hull; co-supervisor Baumgartner, Graz

Based in Hull with secondments in Austria and the UK

This project examines the extent to which the economic and social benefits postulated for a CE can be captured in a specific location; it will consider the conceptualisation of the CE as an economic development initiative, and consider such initiatives in the broader context of place promotion.  Focusing on the City of Hull, a comparison will be made with Graz, Austria in order to explore how benefits from the circular economy can be accrued to a specific place in the context of global supply chains.

Objectives

  1. Determine the extent to which the economic and social benefits postulated for a CE can be captured in a specific location; it will consider the conceptualisation of the CE as an economic development initiative, and consider such initiatives in the broader context of place promotion;
  2. Identify what governmental initiatives being undertaken and why, and how these are communicated to companies and the community;
  3. Analyse how companies have responded, the extent to which material loops are closed within the city, and if not where; what is the industrial base of the city.

ESR 4.2 Assessing the impact of the Circular Economy on national and local employment experience

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

Based in Hull with secondments in Portugal and the UK

Consideration of employment impacts of the circular economy have so far been based largely on quantitative estimates of jobs created at the regional to national scale.  This project will go beyond those numbers to undertake a qualitative comparative case studies of Hull, UK and Lisbon, Portugal.   The will examine the types of jobs available, their suitability to the local population and the experience of working in those jobs.

Objectives

  1. Determine the quantity and quality of jobs appearing in the CE as well as jobs likely to be lost as a result of changing patterns of material usage, using Hull and Lisbon as case studies;
  2. Determine the nature of job creation: is new employment in CE coming with full employment rights, as opposed to non-employment contracts or use of self-employed staff;
  3. Analyse how different organisations, e.g. employers and employee bodies, do represent and respond to ideas relating to the circular economy?
  4. Determine the skill sets required for employment in the CE, and to what extent are these readily available in the current workforce;
  5. Assess to what extent do CE jobs involving information and communications technology;
  6. Determine the gender implications of employment in the CE.

ESR 4.3 Re-defining the boundaries of the in/formal economies with the Circular Economy

First supervisor Jonas, Hull; co-supervisor Baumgartner, Graz

Based in Hull with secondments in Austria and the UK

The non-profit organisations and the informal sector play an active role in circular economy related activity (such as the collection and redistribution of unwanted goods) at least on a local scale.  Working closely with an environmental charity engaged in numerous community projects, this study examines how the CE can draw on existing practices in informal economy and/or the third sector. One of the objectives of this project will be to develop and apply a more robust typology to describe the relationship between the formal/mainstream and informal/alternative economies in the performance of the CE

Objectives

  1. Determine the impact of the CE on the interrelationships between the formal, informal and third sectors.
  2. Analyse to what extent will the development of a CE draw on existing practices in informal economy and/or the third sector;
  3. Analyse how the CE articulates with mainstream circuits of capital;
  4. Develop and apply a more robust typology to describe the relationship between the formal/mainstream and informal/alternative economies in the performance of the CE.

ESR 4.4 From individual action to collective action in a circular economy

First supervisor Dermine-Brullot, UTT; co-supervisor Jonas, Hull

Based in Troyes with secondments the UK and France

Circular economy involves collaboration between actors. Socioeconomic factors (or territorial capital) facilitate this collaboration (economic context, environmental sensitivity, regulation, political context, organizational context, etc.). This proximity is at first geographic but material exchange projects (referred to as industrial ecology) also rely on a form of organized proximity. Working closely with a French organization promoting a sustainable regional economy, the aim of project is to characterize and analyze the different activated capitals developed through an industrial ecology approach in a specific territory and to measure the benefits in this territory, in particular from the point of view of the training effect generated for other industrial ecology project or, more generally, other CE practices.

Objectives

  1. Characterize and analyse the different activated capitals arising from an industrial ecology approach employed in a territory, using a detailed case study approach (Port of Strasbourg) with multiple stakeholder interviews;
  2. Measure the (social and economic) benefits in this territory, in particular from the point of view of the training effect generated for other industrial ecology project or other CE practices more generally.