United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Progress report for

Circular Regions

Achievement at a glance

Launch of the Circular Regions BETA platform

- Mapping Best Practices: Circular Business Models, Policy & Incentives, as well as, Educational & Behavioural Shift Resources are all connected via dynamic data.

- Identifying, connecting and highlighting regions, municipalities, networks, hubs, projects, businesses, and organizations that implement circular solutions and innovative business models.

- Providing access to tools and resources to better understand and implement circular solutions, as well as understand the associated impact, barriers and enablers

- Supporting a holistic view of the Circular Economy with additional focus on the smallest loops: Reduce and Reuse supporting Value Retention Processes

- Providing added value by fostering a multi-stakeholder network for pursuing opportunities and collaboration enabling social, economic and environmental impact while bridging top-down and bottom-up solutions

Circular Regions aggregates data in an open searchable database enabling businesses to identify relevant opportunities and partners for innovation, reduce costs, accelerate time to market, increase differentiation in the market. Our platform supports the generation of alternative revenue streams and reduced expenditures via new value chains.

Challenges faced in implementation

Industry from large international conglomerates down to small business need to transition to circular business models. Some of the hurdles they face include limited access to relevant circular initiatives and the identification of partners interested in collaboration. Currently identifying relevant best practice solutions is resource intensive and often futile.
Companies seeking cross-sector collaboration to identify new value chains and alternative revenue streams require match-making.
Marketplaces both B2B and B2C require critical mass, cross sector adoption, and regional penetration in order to be effective.
Municipalities must facilitate coordination between urban and rural areas in their region. This is needed to improve synergies across the local and regional levels of government, allowing them to work towards common goals, and ensure consistency between the local and regional initiatives. Unfortunately, the resources required are often lacking.
Individuals need 'access' to products and services that support social equity, wellbeing, reduced material consumption and responsible production.
Countries need a strategy and roadmap to transition to a Circular Economy -
Policymakers need to understand the current situation across all sectors, including the Cultural, Technological, Market, Regulatory and Social Barriers and Enablers associated with each sector. They also need to understand the social, economic and environmental impact of initiatives in order to prioritise funding and policy recommendations


- The Public Sector
- The Third Sector
- The Private Sector
- The Knowledge Sector
- Academia
- and the public at large


Obtaining a detailed understanding of the Circular Economy in Regions, identify and connect stakeholders and stimulating opportunities, while implementing the technology to scale the impact.
- Identify the sectors where these initiatives are taking place,
- identify gaps,
- build on good examples,
- learn from practices and failures,
- develop an understanding of what the circular transition means for each sector,
- and explore potential cross-sector synergies and their common features.
The system architecture developed as the backbone of the Circular Regions platform can map any circular initiative by any stakeholder. It identifies a range of data points and aggregates them into a dynamic relational database that is linked up against the EUs Circular Economy Action Plan as part of the New Green Deal. This will support the development of tools to be used as resources for:
- Policymakers (local, regional and national) with data on impacts, barriers and enablers,
- Industry & SMEs seeking partners for innovative new solutions and identification of new business opportunities,
- Networks and Clusters, Industrial Parks to unlock opportunities for their members
- Public officials working to document and support the UN SDGs
- Research & Academia working with on Circular and Carbon Neutral Business Models
- NGOs to network and replicate identified impactful solutions and
- Citizens able to support social equity, wellbeing, reduced material consumption and responsible production.

Submitted on

20 March, 2021

Progress Status

On track