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What is happening at global level?

Already 74 countries are combining their Circular Economy expertise to develop a number of ISO standards. We need to speak the same language and combine forces. Moving towards a zero waste economy! The number of liaisons is growing while EllenMacArthurFoundation, GRI and ECOS took part from the beginning.

ISO/TC 323 Circular Economy program

ISO is facilitating this important international process, after positive voting on a French (AFNOR) proposal in 2018.

France will facilitate the leadership with Catherine Chevauché (Chair, Suez) and Olivier Cartigny (Secretariat, AFNOR).

The ISO Technical Committee is called ISO/TC 323 Circular Economy.

Three new Circular Economy standards are coming up!

The ISO Technical Committee TC 323 will develop three Circular Economy standards in parallel within three Working Groups, that will operate in close collaboration:

  • ISO Standard 1: Circular Economy, Framework with Definitions and Principles.
  • ISO Standard 2: Circular Economy, Framework with Business Models.
  • ISO Standard 3: Circular Economy, Framework for Measuring Circularity.

In addition to this development a fourth ad-hoc group is drafting a Technical Report specifically focussing on performance-based approaches such as functional economy, service economy or some kinds of Product-Service Systems (PSS).

Contributing to the SDGs !

Very important is that the overall scope of the ISO/TC 323 program includes to ‘maximize the contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals’!

This means that the new Circular Economy standards will take into consideration the environmental, social and economic impacts of circular activities.

Circular Economy is strongly related to SDG 12 ‘Responsible consumption and production’ as part of the UN Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals. Circularity can also have its roots in other SDGs like circularity of buildings and infrastructure in SDG 9 ‘Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure’.

Circular Economy activities can have a positive impact on many SDGs.

Connecting with existing Environmental standards

Where relevant the new standards will build upon existing environmental standards, especially from the ISO 14000-family. The challenge is that duplication and inconsistencies should be avoided.

It is also crucial not to create contradicting material efficiency indicators, and ensure that calculation, naming, definitions are consistent and aligned. Alignment, non-contradicting guidance with IEC TC 111 is needed.

Circular Economy and Life Cycle Thinking

A complex challenge is to build strong connections between Life Cycle Thinking and Circular Economy.

Both circular solutions and Life Cycle Thinking require systemic thinking, a principle inherent to circular economy.

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) provides insights in the impacts along the entire life cycle and is very well suited to assess the sustainability impacts of circular solutions. By combining LCA for environmental impact, Social LCA for social impact and Life Cycle Costing (LCC) for economic impact an holistic view of the sustainability impact of circular solutions can be achieved.

first international ISO/TC 323 Circular Economy meeting

The first international ISO/TC 323 Circular Economy meeting was held 20-22 May 2019 in Paris.

The second international meeting was planned from Monday 15 – Friday 19 June 2020 in Tokyo.

Due to the Corona virus, the physical meeting will be replaced by teleconference activities.