JUST2CE
A Just Transition to the Circular Economy

Period
September 1, 2021 to August 31, 2024
Duration
36 months
Abstract

JUST2CE is based on the assumption that a critical evaluation of the CE paradigm, of its economic, societal, gender and policy implications, and of the outcomes of its implementation (which industrial sectors will benefit the most? Which stakeholders’ groups can be classified as winners and which one as losers) has not been conducted yet. A direct consequence of this gap is that the political economy and geopolitics of transition have been neglected in CE studies. European, and more in general global productive systems are characterised by geographical specialisation – e.g. extractive Vs productive economies; core-periphery and north-south relations – that seek to maximise profits along the traditionally designed linear supply chains. These, often unequal and asymmetric, relations might seriously hamper the transition to a CE. To date, no studies have shed light on how such relations should be reconfigured to achieve circularity. This represents an urgent and major research gap that will be addressed by this project, which will therefore provide useful insights to policy-makers for evaluating the feasibility of the transition to the CE. JUST2CE aims at understanding, in critical and thoughtful way, under which conditions a responsible, inclusive and social just transition to a circular economy is possible and desirable, what technical, political and social factors can enable or hamper such transformation and how these aspects can contribute to the development of transitional policy measures.
The conviction underpinning the project is that the success of a transition towards a sustainable circular economy does not merely depend on the development of new technologies - artefacts or processes - but also in the reconfiguration of the governance of productive processes into more democratic and participatory mechanisms of designing and managing technology.