To prepare for the upcoming TLJ a series of articles presents the policy context of the Lodzkie Region. Read the 1st and 2nd episodes.

Training system & capacity building

The Lodzkie Region hosts many nationally important higher education institutions. In 2017, a new specialization for students of commodity science emerged at the Technical University of Lodz, preparing them for product life cycle assessment (LCA), environmental management, eco-design and working according to circular economy principles. A new optional LCA subject,"Fundamentals of Life Cycle Analysis", has been introduced in 2019. It is taught in many faculties. Lodz University of Technology also provides training in LCA. The staff of this university is specialized in LCA and the university itself is involved in various LCA projects and research work, including as a stakeholder of LCA4Regions.

In 2021, Lodz University of Technology introduced a new specialization in the field of "Management and Production Engineering" (second-cycle master's degree studies): "products and processes in a circular economy" and a new second-cycle course: "Sustainable Bioeconomy", which includes the following subjects: "Ecological Life Cycle Assessment", "Closed Circuit Economy" and "Environmental Assessments in the Bioeconomy".

At another university from the region - the University of Lodz, since 2018 there is a new field of study called: EcoCity. It aims to educate professionals prepared to manage cities in accordance with the idea of sustainable development, green economy and environmental protection. It is an innovative and unique didactic offer that surely translate into building awareness of sustainability issues and LCA.

The Academy of Fine Arts in Łódź actively promotes ideas related to ecodesign as part of its events. It organizes international scientific conference "EcoMade" devoted to ecological fashion and design. It is a form of exchange of ideas and experience, including eco-design, but also an information and promotional campaign shaping ecological attitudes among the inhabitants of the region. Universities from Lodz are building awareness and competences of future LCA specialists.

In connection with the energy transformation of the Bełchatów Basin, the Marshal of the Lodzkie Region and the President of the largest energy company in the region initiated the establishment of a Competence Development Centre in Bełchatów in 2021. The facility is expected to provide a wide range of courses and training in renewable energy sources, offshore wind farms, CE sector, machine learning and in professions of the future, such as Big Data analyst or biotechnologist.

Knowledge of LCA is also present among entrepreneurs in the Lodzkie Region. Several companies in the construction industry have decided to commission life cycle analysis for their products. These large companies can afford the significant cost of the LCA certification procedure.

In general, Polish people (including in Lodzkie) have positive attitude towards environmental protection, believe that it should be a priority of human activity and that they have a real influence on the preservation of the natural environment. However, this doesn’t translate into consumer behavior. The awareness of the real impact of consumers on the environment in the general cross-section of our society is definitely insufficient. There is a lack of systemic consumer awareness education at all levels of education (starting with early school education) aimed at changing consumer behavior and increasing knowledge of rights in terms of access to product and producer information .

Among the initiatives undertaken in this respect in the Lodzkie Region, one should distinguish the activities of the Regional Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management, which co-finances ecological education projects carried out in schools and kindergartens, including ecological education in the field of rationalisation of waste management and prevention. There are also many non-governmental organizations dealing with ecological education of children and adults in the region.

The Lodzkie Region also organizes many events influencing capacity building and raising awareness of the CE, e.g. the Business and Sustainable Development Forum 2020 conference, where one of the main topics was the circular economy, including the issue of creating awareness in creating a "fashion" for effective waste sorting. Another event organized by Lodzkie Region was a series of webinars: "Circulars in Business", in December 2020. At the meetings, entrepreneurs and experts analyzed the production of packaging in accordance with the idea of recycling, presented opportunities and challenges of introducing a closed water cycle in the textile industry and discussed ways to switch to more economical production methods in accordance with CE. The Lodzkie Region is also the organizer of the cyclical International Bioeconomy Congress promoting green business attitudes.