Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy hosted Retrace partners and their stakeholders on 4 and 5 May in Ljubljana and organised study visits for them to learn more about Slovenian examples of good practice in circular economy. Sharing good practice between partners is the key action of the Retrace project which seeks to promote systemic design as a method allowing regional and local policies to make a transition into circular economy.

The visit is already the fifth one in a series of good practice visits by the partners of the Retrace project which is co-financed by the ERDF under the Interreg Europe Programme. Retrace partners and stakeholders have learned about over 40 cases of good practice from Italy, Spain, France, the Netherlands and Slovenia since April 2016.

Eight projects were selected upon the proposal of lead partner, the Polytechnic University of Turin from a list of good practice cases compiled by the Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy, i.e.
-    WINTHERWAX, a project under which the M Sora company developed wood windows made of thermally modified spruce;
-    Fair Meter, a project for the design and manufacture of fair meters, a result of cooperation between the IskraEmeco company with four Dutch energy distribution companies; 
-    use of Fallopia japonica as raw material for paper in the scope of activities of the Re-generacija association; 
-    InnoRenew project of the University in Primorska for setting up the Renewable Materials and Healthy Environments Research and Innovation Centre of Excellence;
-    ECONYL®, a project that seeks to provide quality raw material for the production of nylon fibre through collection and processing of waste products (AquafilSlo);
-    Reuse Centres;
-    Nico Less chair of the Donar company; and
-    Strategic Research and Innovation Partnership – Networks for the Transition into Circular Economy.

Participants in the two-day event were welcomed by State Secretary in Prime Minister’s Office Tadej Slapnik and Minister for Development, Strategic Projects and Cohesion Alenka Smerkolj who underlined that today’s complex world calls for development of systemic ways of thinking. ‘’We were well aware of this as we embarked on the preparation of the Slovenian Smart Specialisation Strategy. The document identifies circular economy as one of its priority areas. Hence, we encouraged the establishment of strategic research and innovation partnerships to foster long-term collaboration between all relevant actors in the areas of S4 application.’’ The minister added she was sure that sharing good practice between project partner regions allows all partners to gain insight into how to design efficient development solutions thanks to systemic thinking.   

The study visit of project partners in Slovenia, which the Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy as the organiser found very successful, will contribute to designing regional roadmaps for transition into circular economy on the basis of systemic design.