The EREK International Conference: What is the circular economy anyways?

Tossing the old ‘linear’ way of viewing the economy, the circular economyis a concept that seeks to maximize the value and use of products, material and resources within the economy for minimal generation of waste. This is done by encouraging the circulation of secondary raw materials for uptake by both businesses and consumers to honor the life of goods and their longevity on this planet.

The EREK International Conference Make it happen with Resource Efficiency! highlighted a number of different innovative models used by businesses and industries geared towards more resource efficient solutions, including those that focus on digitalisation and strengthening the circular and social economy.

With 33 countries and 253 participants on the attendance list ranging from the European Commission’s DG GROW and the United Nations Environment Programme to CEOs from Avaesen and university professors, it is unsurprising that some interesting ideas ‘circulated’ the room. A few themes put on the table for further debate included:

  • Boosting resource efficiency in the real economy
  • What does Game of Thrones, Tomorrowland and Carnival have in common? A waste management challenge
  • Social businesses and resource efficiency
  • Digitalisation and Industry 4.0.



Erek Conference 092019

Tackling the ‘throwaway’ culture mentality, Art Square Luxembourg ASBL participated in the session on social businesses & resource efficiency to help identify ways that actors within the social economy (cooperatives, associations, foundations and social enterprises) in sectors as far and wide as agriculture, manufacturing, social services and banking can improve resource efficiency. Supporting social enterprises to create strategies in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and bringing stakeholders together to orient policies towards sustainable production and consumption were some of the main takeaways.

Erek Conference 092019

​​So, who is behind the real dirty work on cleaning up the environment and contributing to a European Green Deal and climate-neutral continent? Support and partnerships between national and regional environmental agencies, European industry clusters working on environmental technologies, business support services providers, SMEs, academics, students, officials from the European Commission are the backbone of ensuring a cleaner future for Europe!

If you are interested in the topic of Social Economy and youth work, do not hesitate to contact us

Article was written by Kelsey Todter in the frame of the project ” The added value of social entrepreneurship in youth work” supported Erasmus Plus Programme. 

LOGO ANG European Commission





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