The circular economy is a practice that strives for sustainable growth. Material cycles play a key role in the circular economy because they generate significant environmental impacts but also significant business activity in various sectors.
In 2018, more than 500 companies were engaged in operations linked to material cycles, and the estimated turnover generated by the circular economy was EUR 11 billion (5% of GDP). The business models companies engaged in the circular economy have adopted are primarily based on recycling or resource efficiency. Product as a service concepts or the platform business generated only a few per cent of the turnover in the circular economy. Three main types of ecosystems can be identified in the material cycle economy: ecosystems that
draw on regional strengths, ecosystems that rely on strong industrial drivers, and ecosystems built on a vision of the circular economy. Each type of ecosystem plays an important role in the circular economy. According to estimates, the business activity associated with the material cycles in the circular
economy can be doubled by 2030. Such growth would, however, require simultaneous and similarly aligned policy measures such as regulation, investment aid and incentives for research, development and innovation. The next step should be an assessment of the joint impact of selected circular economy actions in different sectors on carbon neutrality targets and the circular economy.