Circular Week 2023 has come to a close and what an extraordinary week it was!
For five days, from October 23 to 27, representatives from the European Union, local authorities, entrepreneurs, as well as scientists and managers engaged in the circular economy (CE) discussed urgent issues facing our planet, circular models, and the goals we must set to protect Earth's resources. Circular Week is a prestigious international series of events dedicated to sustainable development and the circular economy, which has been gaining popularity every year and is highly regarded among organizations focused on CE models. This is especially important in today's world for us and our planet. The transition to a circular economy is a natural and necessary path if we want our children and grandchildren to live normally.
The idea of the circular economy, which has been promoted for the past six years through the Circular Week events, strongly addresses the issues of a world that is depleting the planet's resources without considering the consequences of such actions. It's a model in which resources and products are kept in the economic cycle for as long as possible, while maintaining their highest value. We all need to understand the benefits of closing the loop and how sustainable consumption and production positively impact the environment, biodiversity, and climate change. Circular Week also promotes effective, innovative, and green solutions and efficient systemic changes. Education, awareness, changes in consumer behavior and business models, and our collective responsible attitude are the keys to saving the planet and securing a better future for future generations.
Circular Week 2023 began on Monday, October 23, with presentations and discussions about sustainable packaging. The event at the British Embassy was attended by notable figures, including Anna Clunes, Ambassador of the United Kingdom to Poland, Reinier Schlatmann, CEO of DS. Smith, Jerome Acosta, Project Manager from Albea Group, Jakub Tyczkowski, CEO of Rekopol, Maria Andrzejewska, Director-General of UNEP/GRID, Anna Sapota from Tomra, and Anna Kozera-Szałkowska, Managing Director of Plastics Europe Poland.
On Tuesday (October 24), beautiful Warsaw's Targowa Creative Centre hosted presentations and discussions about the bioeconomy and food – huge areas to explore within the CE model. Simone Maccaferri, CBE JU, Tomasz Calikowski, Policy Specialist in the Directorate-General for Research and Innovation of the European Commission, and Małgorzata Bojańczyk, Director of the Polish Association of Sustainable Agriculture "ASAP" – our event partner and an expert in the area of the Common Agricultural Policy of the European Union and the European Green Deal – discussed the agri-food market and sustainable agriculture. In the field of circular models in the kitchen, Filip Lundin from Sweden, an outstanding chef and entrepreneur, demonstrated his skills live.
Wednesday (October 25) was marked by the international Mazovia Circular Congress, which gathered many esteemed guests in the iconic Iluzjon Cinema – Museum of Film Art. The interest in the topic of circular models exceeded our expectations. Exceptional presentations and discussions were thanks to numerous speakers, including Ladeja Godina Košir, founder and CEO of Circular Change, co-chair of the European Stakeholder Platform, Antony Buchan, Head of Local Authority Support Area at ReLondon, Pavel Zedníček, Director-General of the Institute for Circular Economy (INCIEN), Hugo Delahaye, European Projects Manager in the Department of Circular Economy for the City of Roubaix, Ioannis Bakas, Circular Economy Monitoring Expert at the European Environment Agency, Agata Czachórska, Head of Sustainable Development at IKEA Group, Ewelina Szczech Pietkiewicz, Assistant Professor at SGH Warsaw School of Economics, Maciej Bukowski, International Analyst in the 3W Department at the Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego (BGK), Leszek Drogosz from the City of Warsaw, and Janez Potocnik, Co-Chair of the International Resource Panel, Partner at SYSTEMIQ, and former European Commissioner for the Environment.
Thursday (October 26)
Discussions about the deposit-return system and circular solutions in cities took place on Thursday (October 26) at the Warsaw City Hall – Wedding Palace. The topics were introduced by experts, including Robert Chciuk, Director of the Waste Management Department, Ministry of Climate, Robert Jansen from DPG DEUTSCHE PFANDSYSTEM GMBH in Germany, Marian Ac, a representative of the DRS operator in Slovakia, Renata Juszkiewicz from the Polish Trade and Distribution Organization TBC, Anna Sapota from Tomra, Martin Basila, the CEO and Co-Founder of Sensoneo, and Andrzej Łazęcki, Director of the Municipal Economy Department of the City of Krakow.
Friday's events (October 27) were all about experts gathering at the stunning Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and sharing knowledge on textiles – is there a chance to close the loop in this area as well? In the afternoon, a happening was held at the Złote Tarasy Shopping Centre, where everyone could see what can be created from used clothing, how to repair and transform them, and how this can be combined with helping others. Figures like Agnieszka Oleksyn-Wajda, a legal advisor, Director of the Institute of Sustainable Development and Environment, and co-creator and Head of the Business and Law Academy in the Fashion Sector and postgraduate studies in environmental and climate law at Lazarski University, Maria Clara Jimenez of Makers Unite, Cathrine Barth from Nordic Circular Hotspot, Michael Kuhndt, Founder and Executive Director of the CSCP, Zuzanna Krzątała, Sustainability Manager at Vogue Poland, Antony Buchan, Head of Programme: LA Support at ReLondon, Maciek Łukasik from ING Bank, Zofia Piwowarek - Santander, Bertus Servaas - Vive Textile Recycling and dr Małgorzata Koszewska PhD - Politechnika Łódzka.
We extend our heartfelt gratitude to all the participants and speakers for your invaluable insights, a engaging and full of information presentations and fruitful discussions that we had the privilege to experience throughout the past week. Big thanks to our partners as well. Your presence, support, and engagement were crucial in making Circular Week happen.
All of this were pivotal in making our events brim with inspiration and knowledge. Circular Week isn't just a forum for sharing thoughts and experiences - it's a significant stride towards a more sustainable future.
We thank you for your passion, the time you dedicated, and the contributions you made. Your presence infused our events with energy and openness to new ideas.
The insights we've gained during this week will, no doubt, serve as a wellspring of inspiration for change and further development of the circular economy in Poland and throughout Europe.
We hope this marks just the beginning of the collective journey toward a more sustainable and responsible future. We look forward to seeing you at the next Circular Week!