What European regions are involved? Where do they stand in terms of Circular Economy?
October 27, 2023

Author: Nuria Barros 

The regions involved in the FRONTSH1P project are the North Region of Portugal, the Campania Region in Italy, the Central Greece Region and Friesland in the Netherlands. They will each develop their own replication roadmap. Each of these regions has selected different circular systemic solutions as their focus. 

Below is an introduction to our four replication regions: 

Região do Norte (Portugal) 

The North Region of Portugal (represented by CCDR-N) will focus on the agrifood sector. 

With 3.6 million inhabitants, the North Region of Portugal is home to almost 35 % of Portugal’s resident population. It accounts for around 29% of the GDP of the Portuguese economy. 

The results of a recent study carried out in the region contributed to a deepening understanding of resource consumption. One of the sectors that consumes most unproductive materials is the food and beverage industry. Due to the great importance of this industry for the region, practices of circular economy and increasing material productivity should be promoted in the North Region. Within the Norte Smart Specialisation Strategy (NORTE S3), which is currently being revised based on a democratic and participatory discussion, the area of “food and agri-environmental systems” (including the agro-industrial industry) is being analysed. 

Campania (Italy) 

Campania region in Italy (represented by STRESS) will focus on the agrifood and the water & nutrients circular systemic solutions. 

With its 6 million inhabitants, it is one of the most populated regions in southern Italy. While the coastal areas are known for tourism, the interior areas have a very high value for agriculture and the environment.  Campania is building its green transition on its priority areas: an ecosystem of innovation, the agri-food sector, the maritime economy, the aerospace sector, and tourism. To develop its Smart Specialisation Strategy, the Campania region has proposed an Entrepreneurial Discovery Process (EDP) involving various regional stakeholders. 

Through the Campania Open Innovation Platform, more than 700 contributions have been received addressing future innovation needs for the economic development of the region, and different technological pathways have been defined, some of which are specifically focused on the circular economy: 1) Nature-based solutions for climate resilience; 2) Wastewater treatment; 3) Materials for green cities; 4) Organic waste for the production of bioplastics and biochemicals; 5) Efficiency of production chains; 6) Biosensors and nanomaterials for water pollution analysis and the construction of hydraulic structures; 7) Treatment and productive reuse of industrial and municipal waste; and 8) Biotechnological systems and processes for the degradation of plastics and bioplastics. 

Stereá Elláda (Greece) 

The Central Region of Greece and the municipality of Livadia will focus on the wood packaging and agrifood circular systemic solutions. 

The region of Stereá Elláda is located in central Greece. The ancient Oracle of Delphi is the most famous place in Stereá. The region is also known as Central Greece. It is the most populous geographical region in Greece with 4.5 million inhabitants and the second largest area in the country. Although it has beautiful beaches and interesting historical sites, this region is not very popular. The municipality of Levadia is a municipality in Boeotia (regional unit) in the prefecture of Central Greece. The area of the municipality has 31,035 inhabitants (2021 census). 

One of the specific objectives of the operational development programme for the region of Central Greece is the transition to a circular economy. This is currently being achieved through a number of measures implemented by the municipality. Specifically: 1) Sustainable resource management, 2) Strengthening circular entrepreneurship, 3) Circular consumption, 4) Creation of urban spaces as “creative centres of reuse” by exploiting Green Points and their transformation into “Green Centres”. 

Fryslân (the Netherlands) 

The Province of Friesland (represented by the Circular Friesland Association and the Province of Friesland) will focus on the circular systemic solutions in the areas of agri-food, water & nutrients, and plastics & rubber. 

Fryslân is a province in the north of the Netherlands. It has about 650,000 inhabitants. Fryslân has a high level of prosperity by Dutch standards. 

We distinguish five themes in which they excel (internationally): Water Technology, Agri-Food, High-Tech Systems and Materials (HTSM), Maritime Technology and Circular Materials (plastics, chemicals, construction, etc.). In their RIS3, the circular economy was identified as an important opportunity for new economic developments in the region. Together with quadruple helix partners, the province is a member of the Circular Friesland Association. The Province of Fryslân thinks, works and invests together with this association. The province of Fryslân was named the most circular region in the Netherlands. The association currently has over 140 members (2023). 

The Province of Friesland and Circulair Friesland, together with their stakeholders, have developed regional roadmaps and system solutions for plastics, biomass and food, buildings and construction, water, tourism, and agriculture. In FRONTSH1P they will adapt and internationalise their roadmaps.