Building a circular economy is integral to Scotland’s sustainability strategy. However, despite ambitious targets, Scotland is only 2% circular, compared to 7% worldwide and 24% in the Netherlands (Circle Economy, 2023). A circular economy is more than deposit return schemes and managing plastic waste. It involves re-establishing relationships across every business and supply chain to design smarter products and manage resources transparently and efficiently. However, Brexit made exchanging resources across Europe more challenging, especially for innovative SMEs that face difficulties in acquiring sustainable inputs and exporting circular products.
Led by a strong team of interdisciplinary academics, this programme fosters collaboration between academics, businesses and enterprise-focussed institutions across Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen, including collaborations with Chambers of Commerce and Zero Waste Scotland. The aim is to conduct a series of workshops to increase Scotland’s circular economy and overcome Brexit challenges. The team will build on their existing partnerships across Europe to identify the best examples of circular practices that can be implemented in Scotland. They will also showcase cases from Scotland that can be exported to Europe and develop policy recommendations aimed at leveraging circularity in Scottish SMEs through internationalization.
The team’s research has shown that the future of manufacturing in Scotland depends on two factors: deepening international trade and innovating in sustainability. This programme creates a platform for knowledge-sharing, collaboration and innovation in Scotland’s circular economy, to deepen relationships with Europe whilst helping achieving Scotland’s vision for an innovative and sustainable future.