Circular Economy best practice workshops (continuation of P745)

Project information

  • Acronym: ZEROWASTE II
  • Circular Economy best practice workshops (continuation of P745)
  • Sector: Sustainability
  • Project start date: 01/01/2024
  • Duration: 36 months
  • Project director: Lucie Anderton
  • Project manager: Isabelle De Keyzer
  • Status: ongoing project
  • Project code: 2024/SUS/829

Project description

This project aims to build upon and disseminate the knowledge gained from the Zero Waste Railways workshops, the REUSE project completed in 2021, and the ongoing work of the Circular Economy Sector. Launched in May 2021 as part of the Sustainability Platform, the Circular Economy Sector seeks to share knowledge and best practices to assist UIC members in their transition towards a circular economy.

The new project will support members in formulating their strategies and action plans, fostering long-term partnerships with stakeholders across the entire supply chain. It will highlight the efforts within the rail sector to reduce its material footprint and greenhouse gas emissions.

Furthermore, this project will aid the railway community in fulfilling their commitments to the EU Green Deal and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. By incorporating principles of the circular economy into railway operations, we can conserve money and natural resources, reduce CO2e emissions, establish connections with new partners, and foster cross-sector collaboration. This approach not only benefits the environment but also strengthens the railway sector’s role in sustainable development.

Project objectives

The project aims to bring to light the potential of the Circular Economy for the rail sector. It seeks to foster a collaborative environment where knowledge on best practices and strategies can be shared across the sector. A key objective is to facilitate partnerships with supply chains and other sectors, thereby delivering savings in natural resources.

The project’s scope is broad, encompassing topics relevant to both railway operators of freight and passengers, as well as Infrastructure managers. Depending on the priorities set by the working group, the project may delve into various areas. These include measuring and monitoring success, managing waste and end-of-life materials on trains, stations, depots, and construction sites, and replacing hazardous and hard-to-recycle materials.

The project also aims to tackle single-use products, extending the lifespan of assets, and implementing return schemes and packaging in supply chains. Other areas of focus include reducing food waste, promoting secondary aggregate and materials exchange, reducing clean water use, and encouraging rainwater harvesting. The project also intends to promote ecosystems thinking, recycled content and eco-design of infrastructure and rolling stock, and effective procurement and supply chain management.

In terms of deliverables, the project plans to conduct one to two in-person or hybrid interactive workshop events per year, along with one or two in-depth technical webinars lasting 1 hour to 90 minutes. The project also aims to build upon and add content to the corpus of knowledge and materials presented at the first ZERO WASTE Railways workshop. These materials will be made available to members as a resource toolkit, integrated into the SUSTHUB online tool.

Without this project, there is a risk of repeated efforts among members to meet the challenge, and opportunities to learn from each other may be missed. The progress to embed the Circular Economy in the rail industry may be slower, and potential savings opportunities could be overlooked. Thus, this project is crucial in accelerating the adoption of Circular Economy principles in the rail sector.

Project structure

The content, contacts, and direction of the workshop will be guided by a sub-working group within the Circular Economy sector. The project will host one to two events annually, which may be half-day virtual or full-day in-person/hybrid events.

In-person workshops will extend invitations to external experts and high-level keynote speakers from the field of circular economy and the supply chain. The workshop setup will be designed to stimulate creativity and out-of-the-box thinking through interactive sessions and collective intelligence processes, potentially relying on external facilitators.

To address more specific subjects, one or two webinars, each lasting 1 hour to 90 minutes, will be proposed. The resources gathered at each event will be compiled into a "digital toolkit", integrated into the SUSTHUB online tool, and made available to all members. This toolkit will also be accessible as an online space on the extranet/website.

The project will be coordinated by the Sustainability Unit, with Isabelle De Keyzer serving as the advisor for the Circular Economy Sector. The ’Other costs’ and subcontracting shares of the budget will be allocated to accommodate costs linked to hosting the in-person workshops. These costs include room rental, catering, live streaming equipment/technician to allow online participation, and travel expenses. The budget will also cover the reimbursement of keynote speakers and/or facilitator’s fees and expenses. A provisional budget of 10k€ should be considered to cover all costs of each in-person event with hybrid capability.

Project members

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Monday 3 June 2024