The transition to a more circular economy is urgent and necessary. Difficult access to certain raw materials, or even their depletion, and sharply rising and volatile raw material prices, are major challenges. By focusing on circular strategies, the manufacturing industry will make an important contribution to reducing this material footprint. Indeed, making materials accounts for around a third of CO2 emissions.
The circular transition simultaneously offers many opportunities for the manufacturing industry. A thriving manufacturing industry is an important lever for a prosperous Flanders.
Material costs at manufacturing companies represent up to 60% of total operating costs. Committing to circular strategies leads to lower material costs and better protects manufacturing companies against fluctuations in (rising) raw material prices.
By focusing on eco-design, sustainable use of materials, shared use, reuse, repair, remake, extended product life and recycling, manufacturing companies can create more added value.
At the same time, there is great potential for job creation as these circular economy strategies are labour-intensive. These jobs will be locally anchored and provide new opportunities for people distant from the labour market, in addition to specialised technical staff.
The circular economy starts from an approach to collaborate beyond the boundaries of the company, thus increasing the resilience of companies to economic shocks.
Assets of Flanders
Flanders has a number of assets to become a circular leader. We have:
A strongly embedded manufacturing industry
A built-up social economy that works well with it
Strong knowledge institutions
An extensive logistics network
A large number of civil initiatives and organisations committed to circular strategies