Report: How the circular economy is transforming the industry in Catalonia

Catalan Economy

17 Dec 2021

According to the report Circular Economy in Catalonia, there are currently 626 companies in Catalonia dedicated to developing solutions or technologies linked to the circular economy, 60% more than five years ago.

These companies generate 33,000 jobs and a turnover of €11,014M, almost three times that detected five years ago and which represents 4.6% of Catalonia's GDP.

Catalonia is highly active in circular economy issues and there are a number of initiatives and organizations all aiming to promote environmental sustainability: ranging from public projects and initiatives to organized clusters, universities, technology centers, and trade shows.

All circular economy measures take into account three different approaches; rethinking and redesigning business models, products, and processes, extending asset lifecycles, and finally recuperating value at the end of an asset’s lifecycle.

With this in mind, Catalan companies offer circular economy solutions in waste, materials, water, renewable energies, life cycle, and eco-design analysis, as well as in other cross-cutting sectors.

Catalonia’s powerful industry base (in food, chemicals, logistics, automotive, to mention just a few) has great potential to apply circular economy measures.

A highly internationalized sector driven by SMEs

Of all the companies that work in this sector, 93% are SMEs (under 250 employees), 52.2% export, and 12.2% have a subsidiary abroad.

67.3% of them are operating in the waste sector. Innovations such as car sharing, electric vehicles, and self-driving vehicles, or the use of new materials are all fields where the circular economy is being applied and that can reduce the cost of industrial processes by up to 50%.

Furthermore, there are 38 start-ups in Catalonia offering circular economy business solutions, two-thirds of which are working in rethinking products and processes.

Innovation and entrepreneurship

With important technology and research centers, Catalonia is well-positioned for research, development, and promotion of technology transfer and collaboration between universities, the industrial sector, and the public administration.

An excellent academic support system with top-tier universities and prestigious business schools ensures the promotion of circular economy projects in Catalonia.

Trends and opportunities for innovation

The circular economy is interacting with new trends and opportunities that arise out of the latest technologies, such as Big Data, 3D Printing, Cloud Computing, Mobile Technology, and Machine-to-Machine communication.

International companies opting for Catalonia

Between 2016 and 2020 there have been 6 business investment projects and one non-profit organization choosing Catalonia for projects related to the circular economy.

These projects – from Kronospan, Danone, DS Smith, Enerkem and Suez, Greenpulse, Plastic Oceans, Quadrapack, and Urbaser – originate from all over the world, ranging from China, the USA and Canada; and also to France, the UK and Germany, here in Europe.

Download the report on Circular Economy in Catalonia here.

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