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    apr 2024

    World Circular Economy Forum 2024

    The world’s leading event for circular economy thinkers, doers and leaders

    The annual World Circular Economy Forum (WCEF), a global initiative of Finland and the Finnish Innovation Fund (Sitra), is one of the world’s leading events on the circular economy. WCEF provides a platform for sharing knowledge and expertise, building networks and partnerships, and advancing the transition to a circular economy for business, government, academia and civil society leaders.

    This year’s edition focused on the benefits of financing the circular economy and enabling change through policymaking.

    Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle led the European Investment Bank’s participation, showcasing our support to the transition towards a circular economy.

    This year’s event gathered 1 700 participants (8 000 online) across 100 countries. The EIB Group has been participating and contributing to the WCEF since its beginning in 2017 and was a partner of the event.


    Main takeaways

    The forum’s main message was turning circular economy vision into action. Unfortunately, the Circularity Gap Report 2024 presented by the Circle Economy Foundation showed that the share of secondary materials consumed by the global economy has decreased from 9.1% in 2018 to 7.2% in 2023. The Global Resource Outlook report 2024 by the United Nations Environment Programme confirmed that the global economy is consuming ever more natural resources.

    The importance of partnerships and the financing gap for the circular economy were also key themes. The EIB and fellow Multilateral Banks presented their shared vision for circular economy at the conference. Public financial institutions collaborating under the Joint Initiative on Circular Economy (JICE), including the EIB, also announced that they are stepping up their commitment to circular economy to provide €16 billion to relevant projects by 2025.

    With the circular economy still in its infancy, public and private sector speakers highlighted the need to develop the right skills to develop circular projects and strategies and get them off the ground. In this context, the EIB launched the Circular City Centre - C3 to provide free advisory support to cities and other public entities working with cities to help them in their transition to circularity, resource efficiency and waste minimisation.

    Key events

    15 April

    • Opening session on Turning circular visions into actions, 11:00-12:00 GMT+2 – with the participation of Ambroise Fayolle, vice-president of the EIB responsible for climate action and the environment.
      In the opening plenary, a critical discussion with global policy and thought leaders helped us shape an actionable vision for the future role of governance, economics and society in building a just, circular future.
    • The circular Economy we want for Europe 2024-2029, 13:30-14:30 GMT+2 – with the participation of Ambroise Fayolle, vice-president of the EIB responsible for climate action and the environment.
      The session offered a critical exploration of the role of the circular economy in tackling climate change and competitiveness in Europe. Together, we identified gaps in the current policy framework, pinpointing areas that demand urgent EU action to propel the world towards a truly sustainable and resilient future.
    • Shaping a global vision for circular finance, 13:30-14:30 GMT+2 – with the participation of Nicola Pochettino, EIB director of the environment and natural resources department.
      This session brought together on stage the directors of multilateral development banks to shape a common vision for the role of finance in the transition to a circular economy. For the first time these leading institutions from different regions conversed openly in public. This event was co-organised by the European Investment Bank.

     17 April

    • Acceleration session on Bridging borders: financing the circular economy with promotional banks, 11:00-13:00 GMT+2, taking place in Brussels, venue to be confirmed
      We had a dynamic two-hour session exploring the collaborative role of national promotion banks to tackle global challenges. Representatives from different countries shared and discussed insights on financing the circular economy, emphasising the significance of synergies. This side-event was co-organised by the European Investment Bank.

    18 April

    • Acceleration session on Cities & regions getting ahead with the circular transition, 09:30-15:15 GMT+2 , taking place in the European Commission premises (Rue du Champ de Mars 21, 1050 Brussels) and online
      The event ipresented the main advisory and support activities offered in the framework of the Commission’s Circular Cities and Regions Initiative (CCRI), to which the EIB is Associated Partner. This included a session on EIB’s Circular City Centre – C3 initiative, whose new phase was officially launched at the event. Two interactive roundtables on how EU cities and regions can get the governance and finance right for the circular transition were also organised at the event. This connected like-minded cities, regions and partners to exchange experiences and lessons learned on the way towards a circular economy. The event also included a matchmaking session for city and region representatives to make connections with potential partners.

    Top stories

    EU advisory support to help cities in their circular economy transition
    At the World Circular Economy Forum 2024, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Commission announced the upscaling of the Circular City Centre – C3. C3 is a competence and resource centre that supports cities in their transition to a circular economy – one where products and materials are used for as long as possible and waste is minimised. Following a 15-month pilot phase, C3 will now broaden its scope and continue until 2027 at least. C3 is funded under the InvestEU Advisory Hub mandate.
    JICE steps up its commitment to support circular projects by 2025 and welcomes Invest-NL as new member

    The Joint Initiative on Circular Economy (JICE) steps up its commitment to provide €16 billion to circular projects by 2025.

    WCEF 2024: MDBs present their Working Group’s emerging shared vision for circular economy

    The MDBs recognised that circularity is important to achieving sustainable and just development in the 21st century.

    Our participation in photos

    Our support for circular economy