Quantification Methodology for, and Analysis of, the Decarbonisation Benefits of Sectoral Circular Economy Actions

Previous analyses have shown that for the industry sector today’s available technologies with a reasonable economic performance are not sufficient for deep decarbonisation. Therefore, turning the EU economy and in particular the production and consumption of CO2-intensive materials into a material-efficient circular economy could substantially contribute to the objective of a CO2-neutral economy as set out in the long-term vision proposed by the European Commission. As the concept of circular economy gains momentum in the political debate across all stakeholders, synergies exist between the decarbonisation and the circular economy policy agendas. Consequently, circular material uses and their connection to the energy system through resource, material, and energy flows have to be taken into account in integrated policymaking, integrated energy-material modelling and the analysis of ambitious GHG mitigation pathways. The project developed a generic approach to allocate GHG emissions savings to various circular actions and lifecycle stages for a sector. This approach has been applied to quantify the decarbonisation benefits of circular economy actions within the construction industry and the buildings sector.



This study provides an approach to how to select and assess circular economy actions and their impact on the mitigation of climate change. It integrates results from lifecycle analysis (LCA) and material flow modelling to develop a generic methodology for conducting ex ante quantifications of the CO2 emission reduction potential of CE actions. This generic methodology is designed to be applicable to a broad range of economic sectors. The present study then tests this approach on the buildings sector, quantifying CO2emission reduction potentials from a selection of CE actions. Finally, it reports on the lessons learned from implementing the methodology and sketches out its potential application to other sectors, namely textiles, plastics and electronics.



The decarbonisation benefits of sectoral circular economy actions (Report)
Xavier Le Den, Samy Porteron, Andrea Herbst, Matthias Rehfeldt, Christine Collin, Matthias Pfaff, Lise Hvid Horup Sorensen, Martin Hirschnitz-Garbers, Eike Velten (2020): The Decarbonisation Benefits of Sectoral Circular Economy Actions. Final Report for the European Environment Agency. Framework Service Contract EEA/ACC/18/001/LOT 1.