• Client: European Commission - DG Environment
  • Implementation period: 2016 - 2017 (Ongoing)
  • Geographic coverage: European Union

Will the circular economy create or destroy jobs?

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. Policymakers, industry and – increasingly – citizens understand the potential that the circular economy could bring to Europe. The circular economy is a comprehensive proposition, of which mainly the economic and environmental benefits have been highlighted. However, what implications does the circular economy have on the labour market? How many and what type of jobs will be lost and which will be created? What is the net effect on the total number and type of jobs? And what does that mean for all of us in terms of job reallocation or changes in skill requirements? Despite some sporadic evidence at macroeconomic level, there is relatively little known about the implications of the circular economy on this important social dimension (the labour market) in the EU. In this project Trinomics together with Cambridge Econometrics (lead) and ICF, will analyse the impacts that a transition towards a more circular and resource-efficient economy might have on the labour market.

Key steps that will be taken within this project:

  • Reviewing literature to assess the status quo of the circular economy and identify which sectors will be most strongly affected by a transition to a more circular economy. Next to that we will assess the estimates for material-and cost saving potentials for circular economy, activities in those sectors as well as potential employment effects. Lastly, we will review what changes in skill requirements occur in a transition to a more circular economy.
  • Scenario-building for future developments of the circular economy on the mid-term, based on the data found during the literature and verified through expert consultation.
  • Macro-economic modelling of these scenarios using the E3Me model, to arrive at the economy-wide effects of the circular economy on the labour market
  • Formulation of policy recommendations to minimize potential negative effects of the circular economy on employment and support the development of the skills in the EU labour force that are required for circular economy activities.