On 10 November this year (2021) the business community Lage Weide, together with HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht, organized a round table discussion on Circular Economy for companies from Utrecht’s major business park. 

In order to facilitate circular business development, HU researchers involved are working on an action plan: More Circularity in Utrecht. This plan distinguishes three aspects relevant for developing a regional circular economy:

  1. A Climate for Circular Business: Stimulate companies to adopt a circular business model or enable circular start-ups.
  2. Circular Hubs: A cluster of companies working on circularity within a specific industrial sector.
  3. Circular Awareness & Education: A cluster of (educational) activities for both professionals and students in secondary and higher education where circularity is made part of the curriculum.

Participants in the round table discussion were asked to reflect on regional policy on the three themes discerned above. Companies that attending the gathering came from industrial sectors like building and construction, waste management and textile recycling. Besides, representatives from the City Utrecht clarified regional policy and future plans.

Space and collaboration

The discussion with practitioners proofed to be useful for identifying the relevance and feasibility of regional CE policy. At the same time it became clear that key issues are proofing difficult to tackle. A major struggle is the space needed for material and products that circular companies are handling. The available space in the region is limited and rivalry on acquiring square meters is fierce. Another challenge is collaboration. Circularity requires different or new collaborations between stakeholders involved in the same value chain or in overlapping logistics. When established, these collaborations often prove to be strong enablers for new circular business opportunities. Leading to better use of transport equipment. A leading example are BouwHubs for smart construction logistics. These are coordinating a just-in-time and more efficient supply of construction materials for building sites in inner city areas.

Read more about the Action plan work for Utrecht.

More about the the round table discussion (in Dutch).

Evert-Jan Velzing
[email protected]

Foto: Richard Hartkamp, Parkmanagement Lage Weide