Transition from Linear 2 Circular: Policy and Innovation

Today’s business models widely rely on linear value chains with virgin materials resulting in waste. Beyond the sustainability impacts of extraction and waste treatment, the sheer loss of valuable resources seems inconsistent with basic economic principles. So how do we change that?

At first glance, everything seems to be in place: The “circular economy” has successfully climbed up the political agenda; new business models promote use and sharing over ownership, and technology advancements drive the tracking and recycling of resource flows. The idea of turning our resource depleting linear economy into a circular one seems to be appealing to all actors but has yet to become mainstream.


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R2Pi – “tRansition from linear 2 circular: Policy and Innovation” was a three-year research project that aimed to develop cornerstones for mainstreaming circular economy business models (CEBM). It highlighted sustainable business models for a circular economy and proposed “Policy Packages” that support the implementation and transition towards such business models. To do so, the project partners analysed market and policy failures that currently impede more circular approaches or favour the persistence of linear value chains respectively. On the company side, case studies covering different sectors and countries help to understand the diversity of approaches as well as patterns that promote the circular transition of value chains. The accumulated knowledge enables the project partners to develop the R2Pi toolbox and policy guidelines to support both businesses and policy makers.

As the coordinator of the project, we are involved in all deliverables and bring our think and do expertise with emphasis on case study analysis, stakeholder engagement, and multi-actor sharing channels to validate and communicate results. We were involved in both the business toolkit development as well as the formulation of policy advice.

R2Pi is funded under the environment theme of Horizon 2020. It kicked-off in 2016 and ended in 2019 with a total funding of three million Euros. The international project consortium consisted of 15 partners from 9 EU Member states and associated countries, representing three sets of partner organisations, including experts from the business sector and public bodies as well as think tanks and research institutes.