New book: 10 Guiding Principles for Building a Circular Economy

The worldwide use of natural resources is growing at an alarming speed. If we maintain our present consumption and production patterns, we will need three Earths by the year 2050. The circular economy can bend this curve: it closes the loops of products, materials and resources, yielding the lowest possible environmental impacts, while using renewable energy sources and safeguarding the planet’s biodiversity. In the book ’How Network Governance Powers the Circular Economy’, Board member Jacqueline Cramer shows how network governance can power the circular economy.

Cramer shares her huge experience in implementing numerous circular initiatives in the Netherlands. As a practitioner and scholar, she has identified ten guiding principles for building circular initiatives, based on network governance. These guidelines can support everyone that wants to start or expedite a circular initiative.

Casestudies matrasses, concrete and clothing

Part I opens with some background on the circular economy and network governance. It then outlines the history and current status of Dutch circular economy policies on national and local levels. The perspective here is the conventional public governance with which most of us are familiar. Part II focuses on various examples of network governance, showing partners jointly putting the circular economy into practice. Cramer describes transitioning towards a circular economy by sharing case studies of three product chains – mattresses, concrete and clothing – as well as one case showing transitioning within a region, the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area. In all examples, she was involved as an intermediary, a role she calls that of the ‘transition broker’.

Network Governance

Network governance is about building a coalition of partners, which all fulfill a specific function in the network and are aligned by so-called transition brokers. By complementing conventional, public governance with this new form of governance, the best of both worlds is created. Network governance strengthens the positive forces in society and increases the support for circular economy.

10 Guiding Principles

Part III really gets to the heart of the matter, as I forward 10 guiding principles for building a circular economy. I also illustrate how these guidelines play out in practice, she shares her lessons learned and provide concrete steps for those who want to start or expedite implementation of a circular initiative. In the last chapter, She makes a plea for more synergy between public and network governance in order to accelerate the transition to a circular economy as best we can.

Jacqueline Cramer is a member of the Amsterdam Economic Board, where she is actively engaged in circular economy initiatives. She is also a professor emeritus of sustainable innovation at Utrecht University. From 2007 to 2010, she was the Dutch Minister of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment. She holds numerous managerial positions, among which supervisory board chair of Holland Circular Hotspot and chair of the Dutch Concrete Agreement.

Photo: Femke Halsema (Mayor of Amsterdam) and Jacqueline Cramer .

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