Minister Lemke: "Circular economy must become a driver for environmental protection and climate action"

In line with the EU's plans, the German government is striving for the transformation to a circular economy that uses resources sparingly. The National Circular Economy Strategy is intended to bundle the goals necessary for this.

The Federal Environment Ministry launches dialogue with associations on developing a National Circular Economy Strategy

The high demand for raw materials in a largely linear economy is a main cause of the climate crisis and the threat to biodiversity. In line with the plans of the European Union, the German government is striving to transform to a resource-efficient circular economy. The main goal is to reduce the consumption of primary raw materials and to close material cycles as much as possible. The targets and measures required to achieve this will be brought together in the German government’s National Circular Economy Strategy. Today, Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke launched an initial dialogue on the issue with associations as part of a participatory process. Additional dialogue events will follow this year to include the public in creating the strategy.

Minister Lemke commented: "In light of the climate crisis, only a carbon-neutral economy can truly be fit for the future. Circular economy must become a driver for environmental protection and climate action. Sustainable economic processes that systematically focus on the entire life cycle of products and raw materials will enable us to effectively reduce carbon emissions, stop biodiversity loss and curb pollution. At the same time, a comprehensive circular economy will make raw materials supply more secure for German companies and boost their competitiveness. The German government is creating the necessary framework with the National Circular Economy Strategy. A strong strategy and the necessary transformation to a comprehensive circular economy can only succeed if everyone involved works together. I am looking forward to in-depth, constructive dialogue with all relevant stakeholders."

The National Circular Economy Strategy (NKWS) will define targeted and realistic measures that receive the broadest support possible. Today’s top-level discussion, the first dialogue on the National Circular Economy Strategy, marks the launch of a stakeholder process that will consolidate perspectives from industry and environmental associations, unions, consumer safety advocates, researchers and civil society in various event formats and stakeholder configurations. The Federal Environment Ministry is hosting this broad-based dialogue process, which will inform the draft of the National Circular Economy Strategy.

The first dialogue forum with representatives of major German associations will be held in the second quarter of 2023. In parallel, a broad group of stakeholders will take part in dialogue workshops. Several roundtable discussions on strategy instruments and measures will also be held in the second quarter. Online participation is planned for the roundtable events. Recommendations will subsequently be incorporated into the second dialogue workshop at the end of the second quarter.

At the end of the third quarter or beginning of the fourth, the second phase of roundtable discussions will begin. This will be followed by online involvement from organisations and associations. The ideas and suggestions for overarching goals and basic measures of the strategy will be discussed at the end of the fourth quarter in a third dialogue workshop. The dialogue process will conclude with a second session of the forum.

The dialogue on the National Circular Economy Strategy is composed of a variety of participatory events with different stakeholders invited to attend each event. This process and the parallel drafting of the strategy are being supported by a Federal Environment Agency research project.

  • The dialogue forum on the National Circular Economy Strategy, as a top-level discussion, will be chaired by Steffi Lemke and include representatives of groups that are key to achieving a circular economy. The forum will meet at the beginning and end of the dialogue process and integrate the goals and suggestions of major associations in drafting the National Circular Economy Strategy.
  • The dialogue workshops will convene stakeholders with diverse perspectives who are key for transforming to a circular economy. In this event format, ideas and suggestions for over-arching goals and basic measures of the strategy will be discussed and cross-cutting issues with relevance for all areas of action identified. The aim is also to constructively address potentially conflicting objectives from the outset.
  • In addition, experts from industry and the scientific community will focus in detail on technical issues related to the strategy’s areas of action and measures at the roundtable events. A virtual dialogue in the fall will give other stakeholders the opportunity to provide their opinions and comments on the progress made.

The outcomes of the stakeholder process will be successively published in their entirety on the website of the dialogue process. The stakeholder process is organised by a central office, which is the point of contact for all questions (+49 30 53607763 or via e-mail  ).

20.04.2023 | Press release No. 059/23 | Circular Economy

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