Time is quickly running out to prevent climate change from spiraling out of control and to stop ecological collapse – two impending scenarios that are closely linked, and driven to a large extent by our linear take–make–use–dispose economic model and the ever-increasing demand for natural resources.

The new Circular Economy Action Plan (CEAP) presented by the European Commission on 11 March 2020 is a promising continuation of efforts, initiated since 2015 to increase material circularity in the European economy. The Commission takes important and significant steps in terms of recognizing key issues and remaining gaps, but the CEAP remains focused on products and production, rather than consumption.

In this report the authors assess the CEAP and recommend a set of demand-side policy measures. They also urge national, regional and local authorities, and market front-runners, to play an active part in the transition to a circular European economy, complementing the EU’s efforts.