Circular economy in space – and beyond

The world needs drastic measures if we are to meet the climate goal of zero emissions by 2050, reports the Ellen Macarthur Foundation. Re-designing production and consumption of goods, how we manufacture industrial products and how we dispose them, could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 79 to 99 percent, in some sectors. Circular economy models present an opportunity to create new business models and minimize consumption and production impact on ecosystems. According to the BBC, Portugal has made significant strides in addressing climate change, and has, for instance, incentivized citizens to install solar power and renewable energy with lower rates and the opportunity to sell energy back to the grid. It is through such models that Pioneers like Daniel Ramos; a Portuguese native is keen to share their expertise as circular economy practitioner who conduct trainings internationally — while incorporating a system thinking approaches.

The great opportunities waiting to be fulfilled in our beloved spaceship world, in most part, through the combination of the systems innovation and circular economy lenses truly inspired me. Pioneers came at an opportune moment and has enabled me define the Circular economy path I envisioned.

As a Climate-KIC Pioneer, Daniel has been assisting the Municipality of Maribor (Slovenia) on several projects. One of these is the Greencycle project, where he represented the Municipality of Maribor in international stakeholder meetings. The Greencycle project is an international cooperation project with several partners, including 5 cities from 5 different countries in the Alpine Space, including Freiburg, Vorau, Maribor, Pays Viennois and Trento. The project aims to introduce the system of circular economy as an integrated approach to support implementation of low-carbon strategies and provide additional 2-4 percent greenhouse emission reduction to the partner cities within urban management (energy, waste, mobility, construction sectors. He drafted a user-experience report on the website structure that was implemented by the project team.

Daniel has also been heavily involved on the ADRION funding programme of the European Commission, where he assisted the project’s office in the strategic analysis and framing of the Municipality challenges when developing and improving low-carbon transport systems (including low-noise) and inland waterways and maritime transport, ports, multimodal links and airport infrastructure, to promote sustainable regional and local mobility. EIT Climate-KIC’s systems innovation workshop has enabled Daniel, like many of his peers, to learn the tools necessary to work on climate change adaptation challenges presented by the Municipality of Cascais (Portugal) and at his current placement in the Project Office of the Municipality of Maribor (Slovenia).

“I found a mentor and a coach at Pioneers. My host opened doors and connect me with different actors working on circular economy in the region. His mentorship helped me to build an international network—where I take part in international forums such as CIVITAS Forum happening in Austria,” he said. ready put him in touch with other Pioneers and EIT Climate-KIC at large has given Daniel a practical and international platform, of going into the field and doing meaningful work.

The valuable skills Daniel learnt while at Pioneers have given him the confidence and inspired him to pursue even more projects internationally. Although he had the theoretical knowledge through his training, Pioneers gave him real-world experience and allowed him to see how things work. This exposure helped him grow and develop. His leadership skills have developed tenfold, thanks to his mentor, who challenged him to be innovative, and find similar opportunities in line with his goals. This sense of freedom has sharpened his expertise in the field, and his project management skills.

As for what lies ahead post Pioneers, Daniel has already started his own initiatives whereby he will deliver a workshop presentation in Kyiv to over 100 participants of the Circular Economy Hackathon which proceeds the European Circular Economy Forum. Pioneers has also motivated Daniel to organize the Circular Cities Week in his city, of Porto, Portugal on the 31st of October. Circular Cities Week is a global event with over 100 taking part cities, and Daniel, together with his team, will advocate for the design and implementation of circular economy strategies in Porto and cities worldwide. These are only but a few engagements Daniel hopes to pursue in the next coming months. For him, he is just getting started on doing his part in tackling climate change.