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Driving Circularity: The role of energy policy and legislation

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Executive Summary

Lead contributor: Vlatka Katusic Cuentas

The world faces unprecedented energy, environmental, climate and sustainability challenges, including biodiversity loss, resource use, and pollution. The Paris Agreement is the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate change agreement recognizing the necessity of applying a framework to tackle climate change’s cascading and transnational effects. Parties committed to reduce global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and limit the global temperature increase in this century to 2°C while pursuing means to limit the rise even further to 1.5°C. There are movements, policy proposals and approved or under process pieces of legislation around the world pushing for new green deals designed to reduce emissions and foster greater sustainability. The challenge ahead is to achieve this ambition collectively, effectively, swiftly, and affordably apply the energy sector’s appropriate policies and regulations. The chapter DRIVING CIRCULARITY: THE ROLE OF ENERGY POLICY AND LEGISLATION advocates that the common ground for addressing this complex matrix lies in two inter-related processes: advance sustainable energy by applying Circular Economy principles. Appropriate energy policies and regulations can play a vital role in accelerating the transition to a Circular Economy and integrating circularity in the various economic sectors while preserving a positive societal and environmental impact. 

By introducing the reader to the energy and climate realm, practitioners will find an in-depth analysis of the energy policy and regulatory framework relying on the EU’s and its 27 Member States work. Notably, the EU is a party to over 40 multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) , demonstrating the determination of its Member States to address climate change and environmental risks. In 2015, the EU published its Energy Security Strategy and, in 2019, its new energy rulebook, the Clean Energy for all Europeans Package. These publications marked the political and legislative commitment to cleaner energy models and reduced GHG emissions while boosting the economy and respecting the environment. Building on this momentum, the EU embarked on a transition towards a low-carbon, climate-neutral, resource-efficient, and the Circular Economy. Several other profoundly transformative initiatives followed, such as the European Green Deal, the new Circular Economy Action Plan (CEAP), the Climate Law, the European Industrial Strategy, the Fit for 55 Package, the EU strategies for energy system integration, hydrogen and offshore renewable energy to the European Battery Alliance and the European Climate Pact reflecting the EU’s efforts to assist the EU Member States to pledge to reduce emissions by at least 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels. 

Overall, the chapter explores and provides an understandable overview and analysis of the essential policies and legislative actions that the EU mobilizes to move towards a circular, sustainable, and climate-neutral economy by 2050. It also aims to communicate information and examples in a timely and precise manner on implementing the Circular Economy from an EU climate and energy policy perspective and provide practitioners from public and private sectors with valuable and practical insights. 

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Discover what's inside

What is the link between energy and climate change

Discover now the environmental impacts of energy production and consumption and how they contribute to climate change. Learn how energy production and use across different economic sectors rely heavily on fossil fuels accounting for more than 75% of the European Union’s greenhouse gas emissions.

What is the role of the Circular Economy in the energy sector?

Learn all about the multiplier effect of incorporating Circular Economy core principles in the energy sector. Explore how sustainable and circular production and use of energy resources bring opportunities to protect the natural environment as well as for economic growth.

Reshaping the energy system

The Circular Economy measures and uses resources more efficiently therefore reducing energy demand. Discover how to improve energy efficiency and enhance renewable energy targets through the re-use of recycled products, materials, and the efficient organization of all production and consumption chains.

What is renewable energy?

Sustainable energy is crucial in preserving natural capital. Discover the link between renewable energy and Circular Economy principles. In addition, learn how measures to increase the share of sustainable renewable energy sources in the energy mix can lower environmental and climatic pressures.

Which are instrumental drivers for the transition to a Circular Economy?

The current policy framework seems to be insufficient to overcome the challenges of the transition towards circularity. Explore the critical European policy drivers of the Circular Economy transition, and the importance of political will and goal-oriented policy frameworks to achieve climate-neutrality and circular economies.

What is the Paris Agreement?

The Paris Agreement is the first-ever legally binding global climate change agreement created by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and adopted at the Conference of the Parties in Paris. Learn here all about the Paris Agreement and climate negotiations.

What is the European Green Deal?

Learn now the crucial aspects of the European Green Deal. Discover how this new growth strategy aims to decarbonize and transform the economy to circular and sustainable. Moreover, explore in detail how it will revolutionize the energy system and combat climate change by 2050.

What is the New Circular Economy Action Plan?

Learn all about the new Circular Economy Action Plan, and explore how it aims to boost growth, competitiveness, and EU global leadership and modernize the EU’s economy, targeting products’ entire life cycle. Get access to examples of three key value chains of the CEAP.

Meet the Leader

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Enrollment Information

  • Once you have enrolled, you will be given access to our Learning Management System.
  • The course is entirely online and self-paced. We estimate that the total effort required to be 3 hours.
  • You will be guided through the original content of the course with dynamic, rich, enjoyable, narrated, and easy-to-understand content. The course is divided into easily navigated sections focusing at each stage on the learning objectives to be achieved. Each section is followed by non-graded “knowledge check questions”, to help you ensure that you have successfully assimilated the content. You can go back and view the content as often as you like.
  • When you reach the end of the course, you will be awarded the Certificate of Completion.

What you will gain

  • Access to one Circular Economy course, with free access to the content for one year.
  • A digitally enabled, verifiable, and shareable certificate acknowledging your achievement.
  • One-year free membership in the Circular Economy Alliance Community, including access to Circular Economy Alliance members, resources, and events.
  • Special access to Circular Economy related events, research, resources, and news.

Please note:

  • In many EU countries, the cost of certification can be covered by personal or corporate “training accounts”. Please inquire within your organization or with the appropriate institution within your country for more information.


Circular Economy Alliance Code of Conduct and Code of Ethics

The Circular Economy Alliance platform, services, and products are designed to appeal to and be used by people from a wide variety of different backgrounds, countries, religions, and cultural norms. These diversity and inclusiveness are core values of the CEA, and we encourage our Community to embrace it and share it. That said, this geographic and cultural diversity can make effective communications and general policy definition a bit challenging.

That said, CEA is committed to advancing the transition to a just and inclusive Circular Economy which aims to decouple economic growth from resource use, eliminate waste by design, and tackle climate change. To achieve its mission and vision of a socially fair Circular Economy, CEA has adopted the principles of Corporate Social Responsibility and endeavours to promote the common good while creating value for all stakeholders. With this in mind, the Code of Conduct has been developed to ensure all activity on the platform and within the CEA community is mutually respectful. The Code of Ethics sets out the guiding ethical principles relative to all professional activities of the certified members of the Circular Economy Alliance, informs the actions of our partner network, and defines the conduct of CEA staff and persons acting on behalf of the Company.

The purpose of our Code of Conduct & Code of Ethics is to ensure that the Circular Economy Alliance platform (the Platform), products and services are inclusive and that we, our members, and our community uphold the principles and values linked to Circular Economy, social responsibility, sustainable development and all relevant domains, to ensure that people and the planet are not harmed in the name of profit, and that we all conduct ourselves with mutual respect.

Code of Conduct

The CEA Code of Conduct reflects the ethics and values of the Platform, product, services, and community. It has been prepared with members of the CEA community (the Community), content contributors, instructional designers, and administrators based on established best practices. With the involvement of our stakeholders, we will continue to update the Code of Conduct as we add new products, services, and activities and as we receive feedback from our learners and community members.

We cannot foresee all eventualities and align with all local regulations, so the Code of Conduct should indicate the nature of interactions and the social dynamic we would like to see on this Platform and within the Community. In the event of an issue not covered by this Code of Conduct, the CEA team will decide whether a behavior is acceptable or not, in a manner that is as fair and transparent as possible, while respecting the confidentiality of all involved.

This Code of Conduct applies to all activities on the Talent Learning Management Platform, the Circular Economy Alliance website, its social media pages (Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Discord, etc.), including comments, forum posts, and private messages.

Certified Alumni, members of the Community, as well as candidates for Circular Economy certification are encouraged to adopt the following guidelines for conduct:

  • Contribute to maintaining a safe, supportive, and orderly online learning environment that is conducive to learning and to show respect and dignity to other persons and to property.
  • Contact or communicate with CEA administrators and other personnel in a respectful, positive manner.
  • Behave and communicate on and off the Platform in accordance with the principles of Circular Economy, social responsibility, and inclusiveness.
  • Help ensure all CEA members and personnel have a positive experience in all interactions with you.
  • Appropriate behavior we encourage is as follows: communicating and interacting with respect; demonstrating empathy and sensitivity; giving constructive feedback; acting in accordance with the principles of inclusiveness, that is, showing respect for other norms, cultures, life preferences; promoting the values and principles of Circular Economy, social responsibility, and sustainable development.
  • Maintain behavior free from all forms of bullying, harassment, and discrimination.
  • Other forms of inappropriate behavior that will not be tolerated include dangerous, inciteful, or hateful speech; harassment or intimidation; threats of violence; intentional disruption of online discussion, webinars, conference, or other events; retaliation; influencing or encouraging any of the above.
  • We are a learning community, united around the principles of Circular Economy. As such, we encourage experimentation, a growth mindset, and tolerance for failures, mistakes, or lack of understanding.
  • Despite our shared values, disagreements and misunderstandings are bound to occur in a community as diverse as the Community. In the event, have a calm discussion, ask for clarification, and don’t assume that someone is intentionally being offensive.
  • Please get in touch with the site administrators to report any conduct, posts, activity or content that you do not believe is in accordance with this Code of Conduct. We encourage the Community members to report any incidents that violate the Code of Conduct. The CEA team will respond in a timely manner, and the member who violated the Code of Conduct will be contacted directly. Please use the Contact Us link to report any breaches.
  • Please protect your own and other people’s privacy. Please be mindful not to post or otherwise share your own or other people’s personal information publicly online.
  • Unless otherwise stated, all content posted on the Talent Learning Management System is private and is not searchable online.
  • Unless otherwise stated, all content posted on the Community platform is publicly visible and searchable online.
  • If you delete your CEA Community account, you can request that your Community posts and private messages be removed or anonymized.
  • The website administrators may delete activity, comments, posts, and equivalent that do not adhere to the CEA Code of Conduct.
  • In the event of a breach of the Code of Conduct, we either issue a warning, announce an account suspension or, in the event of a grievous violation, we may announce account expulsion and removal from the platform and the Community.
  • If you are part of the Community, we share the same principles. Let’s share the responsibility for creating a positive dynamic on the Platform.

Code of Ethics 

Certified Alumni, members of the Community, as well as candidates for Circular Economy certification are strongly encouraged to uphold the highest standards of ethical norms in line with Circular Economy principles and values:

  • Act with transparency, honesty, integrity, and make the interests of society and the environment a priority, avoid any known conflicts of interest, and aim to create value for all stakeholders.
  • Promote the circularity and sustainability of the systems regulating economic life according to the principles of “people, planet and prosperity”.
  • Act with respect for others and the environment and practice their professional activities in an inclusive and non-discriminatory manner that upholds the values of equity, equality and tolerance.
  • Exercise their leadership and decision-making skills in the pursuit of establishing a culture of equity, diversity, and inclusion in the workplace and in society.
  • Act in a way that furthers the integrity of the discipline of Circular Economy and its representatives.

The code of conduct is regularly reviewed to reflect necessary adaptations that emerge from input received through our CEA members’ reporting or by changes to the prevailing regulatory framework.

Effective as of: 1 March 2022

Last revised: 28 February 2022

More detailed information can me found in the General Terms and Conditions and the Certifications Terms and Conditions.


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