The Circular Valley Forum program addresses all key aspects of the circular economy. On November 16, lots of discussions about renewable energy as a foundation, opportunities for individual companies and collaboration across industries, and faster permitting processes will take place. The guest from the United Nations sees "momentum" for the entire circular economy because there are initiatives for sustainability in many areas. But that is still not enough: "Industrial emissions have even been growing faster since 2000 than in any other sector, driven by increased raw material extraction and production. Needless to say, there is urgent need for action, including the transition to renewable energy across all processes," says Nanette Braun.
Important ideas for the transformation will come from startups around the world in Wuppertal. International founders will present their business models at the Circular Valley Forum's DemoDay. Among other topics, the startups are specialized in sustainable construction, alternative raw materials and recycling. Nanette Braun encourages "to bring existing momentum to scale
". The circular economy should not be understood as a menu from which individual steps can be selected one after the other, she said. Rather, it is a systematic approach – and "the only viable option".
The United Nations is taking on an important role here, ensuring that progress is credibly assessed and that attempts at greenwashing don't stand a chance. "Tools like the standards for net-zero emissions
developed under the leadership of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres are important to realistically assess whether we are on the right track," says Nanette Braun. In this context, she also appeals to consumers, as their purchasing decisions have an influence as well: "We have seen much heightened awareness, in particular among young people, as to the choices they make, whether it is transport or the products they opt to spend their money on. This is encouraging and should further incentivize the transition from a linear to a circular economy".