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How to promote strategic autonomy and boost circularity of critical raw materials and textiles in defence?

Under the EDA-managed “Incubation Forum for Circular Economy in European Defence” (IF CEED), more than 25 experts from 12 countries across Europe met on 11 May 2022 to discuss how to foster strategic autonomy and boost a digital and circular sustainable economy for CRM and textiles in Defence.

Experts from Member States’ Ministries of Defence, European institutions, the defence industry, research institutes and centres, foundations and universities gathered in two sessions of the IF CEED dedicated thematic communities called "Project Circles'' (PCs).

After the French MoD - as the Member State currently holding the rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU - provided the audience with an insightful opening talk on tungsten, titanium and cobalt circularity, the participants in the “Critical Raw Materials PC” session have defined the priority lines related to the analysis of the complex supply chain of titanium. This incubation meeting has been also supported by the synergies created with EDA's work on Security of Supply (SoS) and Key Strategic Activities (KSA), as well as the existing work under European projects (such as SCRREEN and SUSMAGPRO) and Alliances (such as ERMA and EBA). Furthermore, under a collaborative and transnational approach, the participants have preliminarily discussed project ideas on CRM circularity by design, reuse, recycling of cobalt, lithium and natural graphite, rare earth elements, titanium, tungsten, magnesium, as well as relevant non-critical raw materials such as rhenium and nickel, and replacement of chromium in Defence. This discussion, laying down the foundation for at least two collaborative business cases, including the identification of their proper funding schemes, represents one of the foremost outcomes for IF CEED so far.

As to the other session, the “Circular Materials for Textiles PC” experts have started discussing the priority topics for potential transnational project ideas on textile recycling processes and circularity by design of smart textiles, particularly introducing the “Circularity of Smart Textiles” workshop that will take place in the next fall as a Material CapTech and IF CEED joint event.

The project ideas proposed by these two thematic communities create rising expectations, as they deal with materials such as Critical Raw Materials and Textiles for which priority actions will need to be carried out to support SoS and KSA.

The Incubation Forum for Circular Economy in European Defence (IF CEED) is co-funded by the European Union (under the LIFE programme) and the Luxembourg’s Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs - Directorate of Defence.

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