16 December 2022

Closing the gap between circular economy project development and investment

Moving from a linear (take-make-dispose) economic model to a circular one where resources are reintroduced in a productive system is essential to reduce resource use, reduce waste, lower costs for the environment and society at large, and achieve climate neutrality. However, circular economy projects can be perceived as risky and may struggle to find investments. ICLEI Europe is now taking concrete steps to create new financing mechanisms that will close the gap between project developers and investors.

Over the next four years, two new initiatives will provide technical and financial assistance to the most promising circular economy ideas. Together, the DEFINITE-CCRI and CircularInvest projects will support circular systemic solutions, and secure up to 100 million EUR in investments. Both projects are EU-funded and will assist the Circular Cities and Regions Initiative (CCRI) in implementing circular economy strategies across European cities and regions.

“The transition to circular economies in cities requires business and finance models to foster the conversion of waste material into useful products. Our project development mechanism will help project owners develop robust and trustworthy circular schemes, able to leverage investment,” explains Roman Mendle, Coordinator of the Sustainable Resources, Climate and Resilience team at ICLEI and Coordinator of the DEFINITE-CCRI project.

Several cities, including ICLEI Members Ghent (Belgium) and Lappeenranta (Finland), have already expressed their interest in participating as pilot cases, and over the coming year additional calls will be shared for projects to submit their applications to be part of Project Development Assistance mechanisms. More information on the calls for expression of interest will be published across ICLEI Europe’s channels.

To learn more on what ICLEI is doing to introduce circularity in European cities, click here.