Moving towards a circular economy: Challenges and opportunities for SMEs

  • Date
    26 May 2016 - 26 May 2016
  • Beijing Time
    10:00 AM - 3:45 PM
  • Venue
    CEPS Conference Room Place du Congres 1 - 1000 Brussels
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The circular economy is currently not only a major buzzword in environmental policy circles, but also one of the EU’s key strategies to stimulate sustainable economic growth and jobs, as illustrated by the European Commission’s Work Programme for 2016. During 2015, the circular economy was one of the most debated topics in the EU in the context of the withdrawal of the 2014 Circular Economy Proposal and the preparation of the new Circular Economy Package by the Juncker Commission. The GreenEcoNet Final Conference will focus on the circular economy and its implications for EU businesses. The event will include two sessions with expert panels. The first session will bring together SMEs and SME networks to discuss the barriers and enablers to the implementation of circular economy business models. The second session will deal with the 2015 Circular Economy Package, focusing on its measures in support of the green SME transition. In this context, a debate will be held on whether the Package can help EU businesses improve their competitiveness while reducing their environmental impacts.

GreenEcoNet ( is a project financed by the European Commission, which brings businesses and academia together on an EU-wide platform to support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the transition to a green economy. This platform allows SMEs in Europe to connect to each other and to share their experiences, innovations and best practices. It thus aims to assist SMEs in optimally reaping the business opportunities of a green economy.


10:00 – 10:30 Arrival & registration of participants

10:30 – 11:20 Key results of GreenEcoNet and its implications for policy making in the EU

10:30 – 10:35 Welcome by Arno Behrens, Head of Energy and Research Fellow, Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS)

10:35 – 10:50 Luisa Prista, Head of Unit, DG Research & Innovation, European Commission

10:50 – 11:05 Achievements of GreenEcoNet and the business plan for the period after EU funding by Corrado Topi, Senior Research Fellow, University of York – SEI

11:05 – 11:20 Q & A

11:20 – 13:00 Barriers and enablers to the implementation of circular economy business models

11:20 – 11:25 Introduction by the chair Wytze van der Gaast, Senior Expert, Joint Implementation Network (JIN)

11:25 – 11:35 Frédéric Benhaim, Co-president of Entreprendre Vert network (France)

11:35 – 11:45 Tim Horsten, Corporate Responsibility Advisor, Duurzom, (Netherlands)

11:45 – 11:55 Gregorio Magno Toral, CEO and Founder, Ciclogreen (Spain)

11:55 – 12:05 Magdalena Chávez, Founder and Owner, El Piano plant-based restaurant (UK)

12:05 – 12:55 Discussion

12:55 – 13:00 Concluding remarks by the chair

13:00 – 14:00 Networking lunch

14:00 – 15:35 What does the Circular Economy Package mean for SMEs in the EU?

14:00 – 14:05 Introduction by the chair Vasileios Rizos, Research Fellow, Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS)

14:05 – 14:15 Eva Revilla, Policy Officer, DG Grow, European Commission

14:15 – 14:25 Guido Lena, Director for Sustainable Development, UEAPME (The European Association of Craft, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises)

14:25 – 14:35 Michael Steurer, Senior Policy Advisor, Eurochambres

14:35 – 14:45 Henning H. Sittel, Project Manager, Efficiency Agency NRW

14:45 – 15:30 Discussion

15:30 – 15:35 Concluding remarks by the chair

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Programme for Research, Technological Development and Demonstration under Grant Agreement No 603939

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