Two women working with metals in a factory.

Circular economy – conserving resources, protecting the climate and oceans

Go Circular

+ Show all
  • Commissioning Party

    German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)

  • Country

    Global, with focus areas in Colombia, Viet Nam and Ghana

  • Lead executing agency


  • Overall term

    2022 to 2025

  • Products and expertise

    Climate, environment, management of natural resources



A circular economy aims to preserve the value of products, materials and resources for as long as possible. In a circular model, from the outset products and materials are designed so that they can be reused, repaired and later recycled. This makes the circular economy an alternative concept to the current linear economic model, in which products are manufactured at great expense and disposed of after a short period of use (‘take-make-waste economy’).

The circular economy conserves natural resources, reduces the amount of waste put into the environment and oceans and makes a significant contribution to achieving climate goals. At the same time, new, sustainable business sectors and trade flows as well as green jobs are created within the circular economy.


There are various widespread approaches to achieving a circular economy that exist worldwide and are in operation in certain countries.



The project operates in three areas of action:

  • Promote innovation: It advises public institutions, associations and companies on innovative technologies and business models, for example, to use more recycled materials or to switch from disposable to reusable packaging in the food service industry. Innovation competitions promote new approaches and ideas.
  • Scale solutions: By working together with business and government, the project shares proven solutions and adapts them to local contexts. These include extended producer responsibility (EPR) systems and business models for avoiding packaging materials, recycling batteries or processing organic waste.
  • Work in global alliances: The project works closely with international initiatives and organisations. These include the United Nations Environment Programme and Human Settlements Programme (UNEP and UN-Habitat), the NDC Partnership, the Global Battery Alliance or the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. It also hosts the secretariat for the PREVENT Waste Alliance: The large international alliance for the circular economy brings together representatives from business, politics, science and civil society.
A forklift and truck with stacks of plastic bottles.

Last update: November 2023

Additional information