The study places the territory of the B30 next to other European cities or regions that have carried out a Circle City Scan exercise – such as Bilbao, Amsterdam or Prague. The document constitutes the circular vision of the B30 area region; a visual roadmap that identifies opportunities and starting points for fostering the transition to a circular economy. The document presents the analysis of the starting point in the territory, a prioritization of the economic sectors with the greatest potential for circularity, and 16 circular strategies for these areas. In this sense, the four sectors with the greatest potential for circularity in the territory are agri-food, packaging systems, metal and fine chemicals. The project has received the support of the Diputació de Barcelona
The president of the Association, Josep Monràs, emphasized that “one of our priority objectives is to bet decisively on the circular economy as a lever for change and economic and social progress in the current scenario and, especially, for post-pandemic reconstruction ”. In this sense, he added that “the transversal work and synergies launched by the B30 Circular Action Network can be key and favor economic reactivation for the benefit of the industrial fabric”.
The circular economy is among the top 20 issues in which the Spanish government will invest 70 billion euros in EU recovery funds by 2023. The circular economy will receive 5.4% of the funds, 3,788 million euros in Spain alone. The green recovery will receive 39% of the funds. Circular Area B30 comes at a perfect time to present the region as a leader in structural transformation and potentially attract future investment for greater innovation in the circular transition.
The B30: territory with high potential for the promotion of circular economy strategies
Despite the outstanding challenges, the territory of the B30 presents a high potential for the promotion of circular economy strategies, thanks to the business and industrial congregation, and to the innovative capacity (research centers, universities). It is the first industrial conglomerate in Spain, and represents 17% of Catalan GDP and 23% of Catalan industrial GDP.
The diagnosis of the political, economic, environmental and social reality of the territory, as well as of the strategy for the development of the region, has allowed to choose the four sectors with greater potential of circularity in the territory: agri-food, systems of packaging, metal and fine chemistry. Combined, they provide more than 58,000 jobs and add 5 billion euros to the local economy. The three sectors represent 14% of the local economy in terms of jobs, 17% in economic value, and are among the main sectors in terms of potential for circularity.
From there, it has delved into each of the selected sectors, using qualitative information extracted from interviews with experts to focus on those sectoral areas where there may be more opportunities to catalyze the circular economy, retain value and create impact. In addition, this field research has been complemented with a sectoral MFA (Material Flow Analysis), a diagram of resource inflows and waste outflows, to strengthen the identification of potential strategies and prioritize those flows that may have a greater economic and environmental impact.
Finally, a wide-ranging exploration of circular opportunities — based on international examples and experiences, complemented by a multisectoral workshop — has been conducted to identify needs, identify new challenges, and connect key actors. All this analysis has resulted in the identification of the 16 priority circular strategies in the four economic sectors highlighted by the B30 area.
A number of synergies have been identified between key sectors, which focus on and frame the different challenges and opportunities, both sectoral and cross-cutting. First, several opportunities were identified to improve process efficiency in the chemical sector. As for the metal sector, the dispersion of products makes it necessary to improve the traceability, recovery and reminiscence of metals, in order to reintroduce them into the economy. Another set of strategies revolve around preserving the value of food resources to avoid waste, biorefineries and revalued food products. This is closely connected with new packaging solutions, bioplastics and new materials for the agri-food sector. The study also revealed the potential contribution of the region’s chemical industry to the circularity of the economy. Finally, several opportunities were identified for new business models focused on product-service solutions and systems.
Fruit of the interaction with different agents and entities
The publication is the result of the work carried out by the working group on circular economy of the B30 Area, an entity whose mission is to consolidate and promote the growth of the B-30 axis as the country’s economic and industrial engine. and southern Europe. The circular economy model is presented as a decisive opportunity to pursue this goal, and to face the recovery and reindustrialization of this territory.
This process has been led by the Fundació Fòrum Ambiental, a leading organization that has been working for sustainability for more than 20 years through public-private collaboration; with the technical support of the unpublished strategic eco-innovation study — an expert in circular territory projects and in accompanying companies in their transition to the circular economy. Also participating was Circle Economy, a Dutch non-profit organization, a pioneer in projects to transition to the circular economy that has worked with more than 20 cities in different geographies. The participation of a series of associations, local bodies and companies in interviews, group meetings and workshops has also been essential to provide knowledge of the territory and land the proposals.
Based on the roadmap and the lessons presented by the publication, during 2020-2021, the foundations will be laid to walk towards this circular vision. The aim is to strengthen alliances and collaboration between agents of change who are already working on the revitalization of the circular economy within the B30 territory, offering training, qualification and expert support, scaling experiences and creating a space that brings together news and resources in circular economy in the territory.