Moving Towards the Circular Economy: Irish Case Studies
There is increasing recognition of the potential benefits for economies and societies of adopting a circular economy, thereby maximising resource efficiency and environmental protection. In December 2015, the European Commission adopted Closing the Loop: An EU Action Plan for the Circular Economy to help European businesses and consumers to make the transition to a stronger and more circular economy where resources are used in a more sustainable way.
On behalf of NESC, Dr Simon O’Rafferty conducted research exploring circular economy practices in Ireland in 2016. These practices were identified in Irish businesses but also in civil society, through community-led initiatives and the work of NGOs, social enterprises and co-operatives. The work draws on interviews with key players in each of the case studies and a small number of key policy stakeholders. The research documents the opportunities and challenges for these companies and organisations as they strive to bring more circular practices to their business and enterprise models. The final report reflects on some of the key enablers and barriers to the development of circular economy practices more broadly.
 The Ellen MacArthur Foundation defines a circular economy as one that is restorative, and one which aims to maintain the utility of products, components and materials and retain their value (EMF, 2015). https://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/circular-economy.
 EC (2015) Closing the Loop: An EU Action Plan for the Circular Economy. Brussels: European Commission.
Dr. Simon O'Rafferty
Dr Simon O’Rafferty is an experienced Design Researcher specialising in design for social innovation, public service innovation and sustainability.
He is currently a part-time Research Fellow with the EPA and the University of Limerick.
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