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Moving towards a circular economy: Challenges and opportunities for SMEs

The circular economy is currently not only a major buzzword in environmental policy circles, but also one of the EU’s key strategies to stimulate sustainable economic growth and jobs, as illustrated by the European Commission’s Work Programme for 2016. During 2015, the circular economy was one of the most debated topics in the EU in the context of the withdrawal of the 2014 Circular Economy Proposal and the preparation of the new Circular Economy Package by the Juncker Commission. The GreenEcoNet Final Conference will focus on the circular economy and its implications for EU businesses. The event will include two sessions with expert panels. The first session will bring together SMEs and SME networks to discuss the barriers and enablers to the implementation of circular economy business models. The second session will deal with the 2015 Circular Economy Package, focusing on its measures in support of the green SME transition. In this context, a debate will be held on whether the Package can help EU businesses improve their competitiveness while reducing their environmental impacts. 

GreenEcoNet ( is a project financed by the European Commission, which brings businesses and academia together on an EU-wide platform to support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the transition to a green economy. This platform allows SMEs in Europe to connect to each other and to share their experiences, innovations and best practices. It thus aims to assist SMEs in optimally reaping the business opportunities of a green economy. 



Arno Behrens
Head of Energy and Research Fellow,
Vasileios Rizos
Research Fellow,
Wytze van der Gaast
Senior Expert,
Joint Implementation Network (JIN)
Panagiotis Balabanis
Deputy Head of Unit, DG Research & Innovation,
European Commission
Eva Revilla
Policy Officer,
European Commission
Guido Lena
Director for Sustainable Development,
UEAPME (The European Association of Craft, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises)
Andrée Buchmann
Entreprendre Vert network
Gregorio Magno Toral
CEO and Founder,
Corrado Topi
Senior Research Fellow,
University of York - SEI
Magdalena Chávez
Founder and Owner,
El Piano plant-based restaurant
Tim Horsten
Corporate Responsibility Advisor,
Michael Steurer
Senior Policy Advisor,
Henning H. Sittel
Project Manager,
Efficiency Agency North Rhine-Westphalia
Cillian Lohan
Rapporteur for the Circular Economy Package,
European Economic and Social Committee