On 17 February 2021 we organized our fifth key stakeholder meeting in the region of Utrecht (NL). Due to the everlasting COVID-19 restrictions we again met, presented and discussed online. 

Researchers from HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht started the meeting by informing the key stakeholders about the project’s progress. We mentioned the good practices on ‘sharing platforms’ that were presented during the online 4th interregional meeting on 10 December, organized from Sofia (Bulgaria). In preparation on the next meeting, we asked for examples for interesting best practices for ‘recycling and resource efficiency’ to present at the 5th interregional meeting.

In addition, we shared the major transversal success factors that were identified in the study reports thus far. In general we summarized these success factors as: Company cultures/values; Leadership/individuals within the company; Customer Green consumer preferences/customer base/customer profile; and Availability of relevant CE funding/local green award schemes/grants.

The core of the meeting was organized around the subject of developing a Regional Action Plan for Circular Economy (CE). The aim is to promote and integrate circular business models in the region’s CE policy. This will lead to a draft plan by the summer of 2021, that will be finalized after a peer review process by other regions involved in the Reduces project.

We started by presenting our approach, format and planning, in three steps:

  1. Brainstorm with CE policy experts to make a first outline of the Regional Action Plan - today. 
  2. Expert panel sessions on useful and needed CE policy with regional organisations, in order to validate the draft Action Plan.
  3. Circular economy event in Utrecht. Inspire companies with best practice case studies. 

Next we used an online whiteboard to facilitate a brainstorm with the CE policy experts we invited. This was the basis for a fruitful discussion and helped us to get an idea of useful directions for our action plan. A plan that answers to the needs of companies, and is in line with promising avenues of the region’s current CE policy.

Our next stakeholder meeting will take place in spring. Until then we will be working a Regional Action Plan. To be able to validate our approach to a Regional Action Plan to strengthen Utrecht’s Circular Economy policy, a broader group of stakeholders will be involved.

Evert-Jan Velzing
University of Applied Sciences Utrecht
[email protected]