COP24 Innovation Day


On December 5, at COP24, the Innovation Day was organized by the Ministry of Enterprise and Technology, with INNOWO acting as a co-organizer and partner. Throughout the day issues of the circular economy were discussed, as seen from the perspective of industry, state administration and non-governmental organizations.

The meeting was opened by the Minister of Entrepreneurship and Technology Jadwiga Emilewicz, who stated that undoubtedly circular economy is one of the greatest economic challenges of Poland, Europe and the whole responsible world. The Minister emphasized that the benefits of the transformation of the linear economy in the circular direction concern a number of aspects, including the improvement of the environment. "So how to get business and consumers to be more circular?" - asked the Minister.
Jadwiga Emilewicz mentioned government plans that directed Poland towards circular changes. She stressed, however, that "the effects of these interventions that we will undertake today will not be visible soon." The experiences of other countries teach that such legislative processes bring results in the horizon of 5, 10 and 15. The effect will not come as if by magic wand, however Poland has potential, and innovations in environmental policies can become our export specialty. "

After Minister Emilewicz, the Viceminister of Environment Mazurek appeared, who said that "Poland
fully supports the idea of ​​a transition towards a circular economy model, where the biggest challenge is to bring about lasting changes in industry at the design and production stage to use resources more efficiently. " The head of the department of the environment noted that the transformation towards circular changes carries many challenges, "but we implement them with full determination, striving to develop good practices in this area."

The first panel concerned the role of industry in introducing circular changes. This part was opened by prof. Jonathan Cullen from the University of Cambridge, who spoke about the role of industry 4.0 in the fight against climate change and transformation towards circular economy.

After the presentation of the methodology, there was a discussion devoted to the role of industry technology 4.0 in improving resource efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions as well as opportunities and challenges related to the implementation of these technologies. The panelists discussed the challenges facing circular economy and industry 4.0, and according to them it is first and foremost the necessity of "changing the entrepreneur's thinking system", and to achieve this, it is necessary to take a number of actions and show what benefits will be associated with the investment.

The next part of the event was devoted to the role of government administration in circular economy. Director Magda Gosk from the Ministry of the Environment told about a pilot program on circular economy in non-urbanized areas, which was introduced in 5 Polish municipalities.

The mayor of Wieluń (a commune taking part in the pilotage) Paweł Okrasa presented solutions introduced in his commune, he said that it is not possible to introduce circular economy without determination of residents and involvement of companies. He added that when implementing the program "every municipality showed its potential. (...) Previously, there was a lot of work on the documents and now we can show the results. "

Many bicycle paths are created in Wieluń, and the municipality itself has the ambition of electromobility, a car park is built to be covered with photovoltaics, and recycling plants that recycle PET cans and pans have been built. The innovative Motivational System of Waste Management by EcoTech System is connected with recyclers. This system consists in the segregation of municipal waste "at source", and its purpose is to change the behavior and habits of residents and universal education with the use of incentives thanks to a guaranteed garbage exchange system for prizes, discounts and rebates.

Director Gosk summarized: "circular economy already has a practical dimension, we have heard how to apply circularity in the raw materials flow. (...) An important aspect is good practice in combination with education and promotion, and systematic actions will be developed on the basis of good practices".

At the end of this part, the Greenevo program was presented - the project of the Ministry of the Environment, which aims at the international transfer of technologies that favor environmental protection and economic development.
A representative of the Izodom company spoke about the construction, which takes into account the whole chain of life of the building. The Company considers energy consumption, material consumption, demolition and re-use of materials.

The third part of today is devoted to the role of NGOs in the implementation of circular economy. All panellists emphasized the role of cooperation.

During the discussion the question was asked about what NGOs do and what they expect from the administration to facilitate the implementation of circular economy.

Agnieszka Sznyk, INNOWO President, said: "Circular Economy will not take place without cooperation between administrations, local governments, scientists, and we as the third sector have to put all them together. NGO's have the advantage of looking from a different perspective on what direction society and the economy should aim for. Among other things, we created Circular Hotspot - a public-private partnership between different groups of stakeholders in the implementation of GOZ, for a wide range of communication and promotion of circular ideas.We do not have to reinvent the open door, we can use the experience of other countries because such initiatives exist, among others, in the Netherlands, Scotland, Slovenia.".

Ewa Chodkiewicz from WWF Polska emphasized: "We stimulate innovation. We give accreditation to businesses that want to make real changes. "

Joanna Wis-Bielewicz from adelphi said: "We try to identify the areas with the greatest potential in terms of effects consistent with the concept of circular economy. (...) We talk with business showing that circular economy pays for them. "

Zofia Wetmańska (WiseEuropa): "We try to put discussions on circular economy in the long-term perspective, because we think that we need to think about the problem broadly and systematically." She added: "The involvement of the third sector in administrative activities is of key importance, as in the development of the circular economy roadmap, for example." She also talked about the involvement of consumers: "We want to show every citizen what to change in life, to be more ecological".

Maria Andrzejewska (UNEP GRID): "We expect stability from the administration.NGOs are the entities that want to take part in the discussion in a reliable and impartial way, and we particularly care for the support of reaching small entrepreneurs."