The new Incubation Forum for Circular Economy in European Defence (IF CEED) implements both policies and opportunities of the circular economy into the European defence domain by building common transnational projects. These projects enhance the defence sector’s environmental sustainability and contribute to the EU Green Deal by boosting an efficient use of resources. IF CEED, which will run for two years, is managed by the European Defence Agency (EDA) with total financial contribution of €784,000 from the European Commission (EU LIFE Programme) and Luxembourg’s Directorate of Defence.
IF CEED supports the application of the EU Green Deal’s Circular Economy approach to the European defence sector, based on an active and cooperative community that involves EU Member States’ Ministries of Defence, the defence industry, research-and-technology-organisations, academia, financial institutions, private associations, as well as other national and international public bodies. The forum aims to incubate cooperation projects with as many Member States involved as possible.
EDA Chief Executive, Jiří Šedivý, said: “Under IF CEED, EDA is supporting Ministries of Defence, defence-related industry, and many other actors to take up in a structured and coordinated manner a paramount challenge of our times. Together with the EDA’s other sustainable defence initiatives, IF CEED contributes to the role that EDA is called to play within the implementation of the European Climate Change and Defence Roadmap.”
Circular Economy in Defence
The benefits of transposing circular economy principles in the defence domain is paramount to reduce environmental impact while also strengthening Europe’s strategic autonomy, through greater recycling of resources, lower waste levels and reducing Europe’s dependence on imported strategic materials and components. IF CEED is an important forum to address these challenges. To this end, the forum’s goals are to:
- Incubate collaborative circular-related projects and their respective consortia, including precise roadmaps;
- Enable transnational innovation and lessons learnt to apply the circular economy concept to the defence sector, while creating new business models;
- Promote new circular-related knowledge and skills across all defence stakeholders.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence of Luxembourg, Mr François Bausch, said: “Recent assessments have shown us that value chains in the defence sector contribute significantly to the heavy carbon footprint of defence. Besides that, in a world of increased competition for raw materials, we urgently need to improve our systems of reusing and recycling such materials. These facts have motivated Luxembourg to support the set-up of the Incubation Forum for Circular Economy in European Defence. We see a great opportunity here to promote and be part of potential collaborative projects and roadmaps to boost circularity in European defence.”
By addressing the technological and organisational aspects needed to successfully implement circularity principles, IF CEED is organised around two Incubation Clusters, namely ‘Materials and Innovative Designs’ and ‘Processes and Digitalisation’. Within the two clusters, nine working areas are in place including: critical raw materials, circular additive manufacturing, circular materials for textiles, sustainable eco-design, EU waste regulation, green public procurement, eco-management audit strategies, circular data and spare parts management.
The primary activities foreseen within the project groups include for example on-mission additive manufacturing solutions and recycling of smart textiles based on innovative technologies.
Director-General at the European Commission’s DG Environment, Florika Fink-Hooijer, said: “The European Defence Agency’s new forum for circular economy in European defence is a welcomed initiative to support concrete circular solutions in a key sector for the EU. The transition towards a circular economy envisaged by the Green Deal is a truly systemic change, which requires all sectors to transform and reap the benefits that transition brings. With the support of the LIFE Programme, the new forum will help open up new pathways to achieving circularity and green innovation in European defence and potential synergies with civilian crisis management.”
Cooperation in Defence
Dedicated expert groups across the defence domain (e.g. Ministries of Defence, defence-related industry, research-and-technology-organisations, academia, institutes), partly based on EDA’s working bodies specialised in their respective field, will work together to deliver on the above-mentioned goals of IF CEED. 22 Member States and dozens of private organisations are already engaged to achieve the overall objective to incubate cooperation projects. A dedicated IF CEED website has been launched as a “one-stop shop” for circular economy in European defence, by including national contributions. A first Annual General Conference, which will focus on the first concrete findings, is planned to take place in September 2022.
Member States involved in IF CEED to date are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Spain, Finland, France, Croatia, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia and Sweden.