The transition towards a circular economy has been set in motion. National policy frameworks are being developed and the European Union adopted the Circular Economy Package in December 2015. The Circular Economy has the potential to reduce the environmental impacts of the European economy and reduce the risks of price and supply shocks of imported resources. It could also induce a transformation of traditional business models for industry to long terms sustainable alternatives that will increase competitive power of the EU in the future. In order to accelerate and deepen the transition to a circular economy, however, the mindsets of European consumers also need to change from the “take-make-waste” to extending product lives and resource loops. For example, which factors drive consumers to choose for a repair of a product instead of buying a new one or when do people choose for more durable products instead of a cheaper but less durable alternative? And what can policymakers do to stimulate consumers to make consume in such a way that the shift to a more circular economy is supported?
In a new project led by London Economics and in partnership with VVA and Ipsos, Trinomics will help to address the aforementioned questions for the European Consumers, Health and Food executive Agency (CHAFEA) and DG JUST. The study‘s objectives are:
• To identify the barriers and trade-offs that consumers face when deciding whether to purchase a more or a less durable good, whether to have a good repaired or to discard it and buy a new one.
• To establish the relative importance of economic, social or psychological factors which determine consumers’ degree of engagement in CE practices, in particular purchasing durable products and seeking repair instead of disposing of products.
• To suggest policy tools to facilitate and motivate consumers to engage in CE practices related to durability and reparability.
In this effort we will build on our existing expertise on the circular economy gained through earlier projects, such as the assessment of the impacts of the circular economy on the labour market.
For more information, contact Jurgen Vermeulen.