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EDA project to push Circular Economy in Defence

A new EDA project aimed at setting a roadmap for future activities designed to transpose the ‘Circular Economy’ concept into the defence sector has been launched this Friday 13 January. During a kick-off meeting held at the EDA premises, the first steps of this ambitious project were discussed with experts from the ‘Circular Economy Research Initiative’ of the Cambridge Judge Business School (CJBS) which is the contractor for this project. The project will result in a study scheduled to be finalized by end of October 2017.

The CJBS researchers will be working closely with the EDA project team in order to perform the initial assessment of possible constraints and opportunities that could derive from applying the Circular Economy concept and principles to the defence sector. Both teams will then establish a roadmap for follow-on actions and propose suitable alternatives in areas where problems may arise.

Circular Economy is a new policy domain that was launched by the European Commission in late 2015 with a communication entitled “Closing the loop: Commission adopts ambitious new Circular Economy Package to boost competitiveness, create jobs and generate sustainable growth”. Then, on 30 November 2016, the European Commission adopted the European Defence Action plan which paved the road for the Circular Economy principles to be applied to the defence sector. As Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen wrote in EDA’s European Defence Matters magazine recently, “the transposition of the circular economy principles in the defence sector can benefit the European industry and economy in many ways.”

Indeed, the Circular Economy’s underlying principles are not unfamiliar to the defence sector which has managed to follow a similar path over the years, for instance by applying a through-life management approach. Therefore, it was deemed important that a proactive step be taken in view of assessing the possible alignment or gaps between the flagship initiative of the European Commission and the defence framework. In this respect, the EDA thinks that an assessment of the feasibility of a transposition of the Circular Economy concept into the defence sector could be beneficial. In particular, introducing the Circular Economy principles at an early stage of the research and technology (R&T) phase could produce more systematic and structural benefits. A positive outcome from project study could be highly beneficial for the Member States. The benefits for the defence industry (of which a large part are small and medium enterprises) will be also be explored.

The EDA expects that this initial assessment will shed some light on the potential benefits and challenges of applying the Circular Economy package to the defence sector. Moreover, it should allow to identify topics, opportunities and areas that require further assessment and analysis. These topics will be dealt with in the follow-on actions that EDA will take for establishing the work strand in the area of Circular Economy in defence and enable a smooth and beneficial transition.

The project team of the Circular Economy Research Initiative of the University of Cambridge Judge Business school consists of Dr Khaled Soufani, Dr Mark Esposito and Dr Tse Terence. The EDA project team is composed by Dr Panagiotis Kikiras, Mr Giorgos Dimitriou and Ms Patricia López Vicente.