28.06.13 – The Walloon region, in southern Belgium, has become the first to announce its collaboration with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Circular Economy 100 (CE100) programme.
The Vice-President of the Walloon Government and Minister of Economy, Foreign Trade, SMEs, New Technologies and Higher Education, Jean-Claude Marcourt, formalized the agreement with Ellen MacArthur on Thursday 13th June in front of 150 industry CEOs at an event hosted by the Belgian NEXT programme in Court-Saint-Etienne. NEXT is a programme bringing together a multi-sector collaboration of companies in Wallonia that aim to focus on industrial growth and competitiveness through circular economy and industrial clustering. The first focus, on industrial symbiosis, has already been implemented.
“Each of us, our cities and factories, have raw materials that we carry around with us. So we thought about doing two things: the first is reducing our environmental and energy footprints; the second is recycling, collecting and reusing all of the raw materials we use,” said Minister Jean-Claude Marcourt at the event. “The economic stakes are high and the Walloon region can play a pioneering role in seizing these opportunities. We are very proud that the Foundation has agreed a partnership with Wallonia. It will be the first strategic region in Europe, and in the world, working with the Foundation towards a circular economy.”
“The NEXT programme that you have set up is very important in that it approaches things from a different angle, and it is this pioneering spirit that we really applaud. The heart of the circular economy is innovation, creativity and opportunity, and this is what really touches us coming here” said Ellen MacArthur.
The Foundation launched the CE100 programme earlier this year as a global platform bringing together 100 businesses and regions over a 3-year period to foster collaboration and innovation and unlock economic opportunities.
Already some exciting organisations have been welcomed on board, including The Coca Cola Company, SGW Global, IKEA Group, Unilever and Ricoh, but Wallonia is the first region to work with the Foundation and to develop circular economy as a priority in its industrial policy.