On 8th September we were joined by Ashna Mudaffer and Christian Mayr from Business Upper Austria, Linz, Austria in a webinar focused on the Circular Economy Network of Upper Austria.
Business Upper Austria is the agency for location and business of the Upper Austrian government, promoting innovation and offering location development, cooperation and access to public funding. They support businesses in taking their ideas into the market and are comprised of different clusters grouped by industry including Automotive, Building Innovation, Medical Technologies, Mechatronics, IT, CleanTech, Food and Plastics.
Upper Austria is an industrial region and the Circular Economy is high on Business Upper Austria’s priorities and a main topic for all companies, production and services in the region. Their vision is for Upper Austria to be the leading model region in Europe for circular economy in 2030.
They support companies to become more circular and advise them on circular business models. Key topics their circular economy team focuses on are plastics, packaging, textiles, waste electrical equipment, the bioeconomy and buildings as there are processes and desire to make buildings more sustainable.
The team also organises events such as the Circular Economy Symposium which in addition to speeches, in the 2021 edition, gave the opportunity to participants to visit leading companies in plastic recycling and take part in networking. Their events and support services also focus on clearing the misunderstanding that recycling is equal to a circular economy as well as discussing scientific aspects of circular economy.
Through the clusters, Business Upper Austria supports project ideas from the start through workshops, advertising the project, finding appropriate funding and supporting in the application process. They offer support in all local, national and EU circular economy projects.
Some of these projects include the Lighthouse project which involves 2 universities that are dealing with the scientific aspect of recycling of plastics with the goal to reach the quota set by EU for recycling. Another project which is an international cooperation between Germany and Austria examines the whole value chain of the packaging and trading companies involved as well as developing technology roadmaps for sustainable plastics solutions, with the aim to recycle 100% of plastics packaging.
Furthermore, Business Upper Austria aims to look at circular economy form a wholistic view and study how digital tools can help circular based practices in production and manufacturing.
Future projects they are aiming to develop include using biomaterials so that anything taken from nature can be returned to nature, developing a platform for knowledge sharing among companies on business model innovations and examining how a humancentric manufacturing leads to the sector being more circular rather than relying on AI systems alone.
The Circular Based Waste Management project is funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA and Norway Grants Fund for Regional Cooperation – eeagrants.org