Issues and mapping paper on Indicators for circular economy transitions in cities

  • Håkon Jentoft profile
    Håkon Jentoft
    28 May 2019 - updated 2 weeks ago
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The Urban Agenda Partnership on Circular Economy has developed an issues and mapping paper on possible circular economy indicators for use in cities. The EU Commission launched in January 2018 a monitoring framework for the Circular Economy. The indicators proposed by the Commission are intended to help Member States to develop a Circular Economy strategy, and to eventually report on the overall progress of the transition towards a Circular Economy in the EU.

Through the implementation of a Circular Economy approach, cities have experienced the need of indicators for monitoring and to report on their efforts and achievements. The Partnership on Circular Economy has identified the lack of such indicators as a bottleneck for cities in implementing a Circular Economy strategy.

Measuring the performance of cities in their shift towards a Circular Economy provides an opportunity for cities to self-assess their achievements, to identify barriers as well as opportunities and to adapt accordingly their development trajectory towards circularity. From these considerations emerges the need for a sound and realistic framework of indicators for a Circular Economy transition in cities.

Though many indicators have been collected through the mapping exercise, some of them are not needed or not on city scope. Moreover, the indicators should also be relevant in terms of time, i.e., short-, medium-, long-term. This timescale is part of the understanding of the indicators especially concerning their necessity. Moreover, though relevance has an added-value for the selection of the indicators, cities differ in their needs and understanding on what is a relevant indicator.

Not all the participants to the consultation process within the study were representative of cities. Hence, the input has been taken with this caveat. Also, the cities which provided input are large cities; their point of view vary between them and might differ from cities with a different size.

Based on the feedback received a list of indicators was developed. However, additional indicators were added in order to cover the thematic areas of the EC monitoring framework and to ensure reasonable balance between the different groups of indicators.

Last, but not least, it should be noted that considering the limitations of the mapping process, the suggested indicators are only meant to support discussions and further work on CE indicators at city level.

Next step will be to discuss the proposed indicators with stakeholders and try to find cities that will try out the use of one or more of the indicators.

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