• 22 January 2021

    SDGs and CE

    English Version The article is based on Enrico Giovannini’s intervention at the second edition of Re-think-Circular Economy Forum last October 2020. Sustainable Development and Circular Economy: the new paradigm for the European Union – Enrico Giovannini, Founder and Director of the Italian Alliance for Sustainable Development (ASviS) Enrico Giovannini begins his speech recognizing the circular economy as the key point of rethinking the economic and social model. He believes that, currently, the concept of circularity is mainly used in reference to material stuff and there is a limited thinking about the need to “recycle” also people. Consequently, without reinvesting continuously in people, they are most likely to be treated as “social waste” (Pope Francis). Having a large part of the population feeling like waste, will not ensure the social and institutional dimensions of sustainability. The current Covid-19 crisis clarifies that if people feel to be excluded from the social and economic processes,institutions are at risk of instability,as people will be in client of pushing for radical changes in the status quo, i.e.a revolution. The “Arab Springs” are an example of this: started as an environmental problem, then transformed into an economic and social crisis, ended with an institutional instability and a revolution. Also migration is an indicator of how people who are treated as “social waste” try to recycle themselves moving somewhere else. He reminds that the economy, society, environment and institutions need to be fully integrated in a vision of sustainable development according to the 2030 Agenda and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. In 2019, the ILO Global Commission on the Future of Work published a report discussing how, in business accounting, workers and their training are accounted for as a cost, like intermediate materials or raw materials, which reduce the company’s profit. According to him, this perspective does not...
  • 1 January 2021


    English Version Winter is coming and the cold weather with it as well which encourages all of us to look for something to keep us warm. For instance, a blanket, a jumper, a pair of soft and thick socks or a hot drink. Indeed, one of the most popular beverages in the world is coffee which, actually, has no seasonality anymore. Coffee has been consumed for over 1000 years now and around two billion cups are drunk everyday worldwide. This makes coffee the most consumed beverage and the second largest traded commodity after oil. According to the International Coffee Organization, Europe accounted for 34% of global coffee consumption in 2019, followed by Asia and Oceania, Latin America and North America. Therefore, the European Union has the world’s highest per capita consumption with 5kg of coffee per person per year, which is surprisingly high. The increasing production and consumption of this beverage comes with the consequent huge generation of spent coffee grounds left from coffee brewing. According to Solange et al., 6 million tons of spent coffee grounds are generated every year worldwide thus resulting in a great amount of unused organic waste. Spent coffee grounds are usually known and used for their natural and strong properties as fertilizer for gardens, plants and compost. However, over the last years numerous researchers and companies have been focusing on other possible ways to benefit from such waste. For instance, coffee residues can be exploited in pharmaceutical industry, in the food sector or in bio-refineries and for a variety of different products such as the coffee cups created by KAFFEEFORM. THE KAFFEEFORM STORY KAFFEEFORM was born in Berlin from the initial vision of creating something new and lasting out of supposed waste. It all started with Julian Lechner, product designer, who after years of...
  • 25 December 2020

    Two concepts for the same goal?

    By Alessandro Arlati – Research Assistant at HCU, Department of Urban Planning and Regional Development English Version During the last decade, Circular Economy (CE) has more and more affirmed its relevance as a conceptual framework for supporting future sustainable development in our cities. The Ellen McArthur Foundation, as a way to eschew the take-make-waste mentality that has largely characterized our economic systems, defined CE paradigm in 2013. The CE paradigm claims for a change (often referred to as “transition”) from a linear economy, not only by mitigating and adjusting its negative impacts. It implies a more profound systemic shift, aiming at building “long-term resilience, generate business and economic opportunities, and provide environmental and societal benefits”. Yet, CE is not alone in this objective. Many other concepts are paving their way in the attempt of countering the negative impacts of the society we are living in. Among others, Nature-based Solutions (NBS) are becoming a fancy answer to address various societal challenges by imitating nature. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) defined the main objective of NBS implementation in its ability to support the achievement of society’s development goals and safeguard human well-being providing simultaneously economic, social and environmental benefits. Now it is worth asking ourselves whether there is a synergy between these two concepts. Looking at the definitions and the objectives that both CE and NBS are aiming at, it does not sound absurd. Furthermore, it is important to mention at this point, that both CE and NBS were included in the EU research and innovation programmes (e.g. Horizon 2020) in 2015. Yet, the series of projects started within these programmes have taken two definite and distinct directions: in other words, the two concepts do not figure out as connected in some way. However, it is possible to identify...
  • 30 April 2020

    The New Economy

    By Katsiaryna Serada – Research Fellow & Policy Analyst at Tondo English Version The pandemic COVID 19 has questioned the foundations of our global economy, demonstrated the weaknesses of our current economic model in facing real and potential global challenges, revealed the excessive and risky dependency on the global value chains and a single largest supplier. The COVID 19 demonstrated that the largest supply of the essential medical items, almost three-quarters of blood thinners imported by Italy, 60% of antibiotic components imported by Japan and 40% imported by Germany, Italy, and France, and largest amount of the medical masks come from China (Javorcik, 2020).  Before the COVID-19 crisis, China produced around 20 million masks per day. By early March 2020 the production increased to 120 million per day, including through deploying idle productive capacity and repurposing other sectors such as automotive and electronics. Despite deploying additional productive capacity both in China and worldwide, the global spike in demand for medical and other supplies   during the COVID 19 crisis far exceeded both material stocks and available capacity to produce. The global value chains were hit in several dimensions – demand, international transportation networks, productive capacity — and were not able to respond the global health crisis. The governments of the exporting countries have addressed the increasing shortage or scarcity (risk of scarcity) in the domestic markets by imposing the numerous export restrictions on medical and other items. More than 70 economies, including the US, China and the EU, have introduced export restrictions to allocate domestic supplies to national healthcare systems and citizens first (Hoekman, Fiorini, 2020). Therefore, the COVID 19 crisis has explicitly demonstrated that the price mechanism and the markets have failed to accomplish social optimum and efficiently provide and allocate the resources. The crisis has explicitly demonstrated that...
  • 7 February 2020


    By Thomas Lamberti – CEO of H2Boat English Version Thomas Lamberti started his speech by introducing the current ecological situation, underlining that thanks to the abundance of energy provided by fossil sources, mankind has experienced unprecedented growth, thanks to a rapid but not sustainable economic development based on a linear model of continuous growth. The cycle of oil formation and its consumption travel on two incredibly different time scales. Furthermore, the rapid release of fossil CO2 has brought the planet into the Anthropocene era, characterized by strong ecological imbalances. The future of humanity will require more and more energy, but in a sustainable way, within a circular economy approach. Lamberti then continued his discussion focusing on the importance of hydrogen as a new source of energy; he explained that the hydrogen energy is among the most promising solutions for storing energy produced from renewable sources. H2Boat, is a spin-off of University of Genoa, born within the Department of Mechanical Engineering DIME and they work together on the technology transfer. H2Boat was born out of the desire to concretely realize its ideas at an industrial level, always maintaining the innovative and enterprising spirit that characterizes the university activity.Among his projects, Lamberti is researching and developing innovative solutions in order to introduce hydrogen technology on the market and make it available in every sector and to engineer energy systems for sailboats and motorboats, with the intention to start a successful entrepreneurial initiative able to contribute to the clearance of fuel cell and hydrogen technology in the nautical/naval world and beyond. The launch product of H2Boat is the Energy Pack, an energy storage system produced from renewable sources for sailboats. H2Boat Energy Pack is a system that uses hydrogen technology for autonomous pleasure boats – in particular sailboats – from the on-board electrical...
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