De-and Remanufacturing Regions 

De-and Remanufacturing Regions 

De-and Remanufacturing Regions 

Austria (AT) 

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations and the EU Green Deal also have a significant influence on Austria's circular economy and bioeconomy strategy. The Austrian federal government's long-term goal is to transform the Austrian economy and society into a comprehensively sustainable circular economy by 2050. This is the only way to realise the ecological and economic goals - above all climate neutrality by 2040 - and position Austria and Europe as leading industrial locations for high-quality, resource-conserving and low-CO2 production. This also has an impact on domestic companies. Increasing regulatory requirements, resource scarcity, fluctuating raw material prices and, ultimately, consumers' desire for more sustainability are forcing companies to put the topic of the circular economy on their agenda, rethink consumption models and break new ground.

Austria has been actively contributing to the circular economy through a multifaceted approach, marked by significant developments over the past three years. The nation has witnessed a noteworthy convergence of political, societal, and industrial focus on sustainability and the circular economy. This momentum has translated into the formulation of impactful laws and strategies at the EU, national, and regional levels, mandating companies to instigate changes and play a role in shaping a sustainable and circular future.

Integral to Austria's circular economy initiatives are key frameworks such as the EU Taxonomy and the Austrian Circular Economy Strategy. These, alongside regulations at various levels and considerations of companies' creditworthiness, have underscored the imperative need for transformative change.
Business Upper Austria has responded proactively to this call, positioning itself as a pivotal support system for companies in their journey towards sustainability and circular economy adoption. Serving as a network and cluster organization, Business Upper Austria has played a crucial role in driving innovations within these realms.

Recognizing that the circular economy necessitates a holistic transformation transcending specific industries, Business Upper Austria has established a cross-cluster and cross-industry team. This strategic move aims at propelling all companies in Upper Austria towards embracing circular economy principles. The vision is ambitious, seeking to position Upper Austria as a model region for circular economy practices. However, the aspiration goes beyond regional boundaries, with a deliberate effort to build and strengthen competencies on an international scale. To achieve this, Business Upper Austria is actively fostering relationships with organizations and initiatives across Austria that share a commitment to prioritizing the circular economy.

A pivotal milestone in this journey was marked by a kick-off event in November 2022 in Linz, serving as the inaugural platform for a regular, cross-industry exchange aimed at establishing the Circular Region in Upper Austria. A survey conducted in the region revealed that a significant majority, 88% of local companies, believe they can contribute to the circular economy. However, recognizing the complexity of this transition, 82% expressed a need to enhance their knowledge in this area. This underscores the importance of ongoing collaboration, knowledge exchange, and strategic initiatives to propel Austria further along its path towards a sustainable and circular economy.
 

A FOCUS ON SOME SUCCESS STORIES

Business Upper Austria is actively engaged in numerous events and projects centred around the theme of Circular Economy. Our activities and upcoming events can be found on our website www.circular-region.at. We would like to highlight in particular our network meetings for the "Circular Region Community," which take place three to four times a year. In these gatherings, we aim to strike the perfect balance between learning from each other and collaboratively developing new initiatives. Some meetings feature visits to exemplary circular economy businesses, while others intentionally provide a neutral space where we collectively work on fresh ideas and solutions for all industries, fostering the establishment of a circular economy in companies. Another noteworthy project we would like to emphasize is the conducted Technology Roadmap: Sustainable Plastics Solutions, detailed here.

The BattBox project aims at de- and remanufacturing solutions of car batteries. The goal of this R&D project is to develop concepts for plant engineering to automatically disassemble car batteries after their first life and reuse as much parts and components as possible.

The DIRETRONET project is establishing a practical support environment for regional industries to facilitate retrofitting. Under scientific guidance, a guidance document has been developed, which includes general steps as well as industry-specific aspects and best-practice examples.

MOVECO aims to improve the framework conditions and policy instruments for ECO innovation and transition to a circular economy, support smart and sustainable growth and reduce disparities between the regions of the Danube region.

The main objective of the CIRCULAR4.0 project is to strengthen the digitalisation processes of SMEs in order to promote innovation processes and accelerate the transition to a circular economy in the Alpine region. The project promises to provide information and support to companies in the region with regard to various circular economy concepts.


AUSTRIA'S STRATEGIC INTEGRATION OF DE- AND REMANUFACTURING IN CIRCULAR ECONOMY INITIATIVES

De- and Remanufacturing have been strategically incorporated into Austria's comprehensive national strategy for the circular economy, underscoring a concerted effort to enhance positive impacts on resource and energy efficiency. The strategy places a predominant focus on leveraging remanufacturing technologies as a means to increase the longevity of products and, consequently, contribute to a more sustainable economic landscape. One of the primary objectives is to explore how these practices can lead to tangible advancements in resource conservation and energy efficiency.

Austria's approach acknowledges the intrinsic connection between remanufacturing and circular business models. Emphasizing the extension of product life cycles, the strategy recognizes the potential for circular economy principles to not only reduce environmental impact but also to catalyze economic growth. Circular business models, embedded within the strategy, are seen as a pivotal driver for companies to adopt sustainable practices while simultaneously maintaining profitability.

By championing the integration of de- and remanufacturing into its national circular economy strategy, Austria is positioning itself at the forefront of sustainable development. The emphasis on technology-driven approaches to remanufacturing aligns with the country's commitment to innovation and resilience. This strategic framework reflects Austria's dedication to navigating the intersection of environmental responsibility and economic prosperity, creating a robust foundation for sustainable practices to flourish within the business landscape.


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