Full Program »
KATCH_e: Training materials and tools for circular economy in practice
KATCH_e is a knowledge alliance between research centres, universities and companies to build competences in the field of product-service development for the circular economy and sustainability. This ERASMUS + funded project comprises eleven partners from Portugal, Spain, Austria and Denmark engaged in advancing knowledge and experiences in the transition from a linear economy to a circular and more sustainable economy, with a special focus in the construction and furniture sectors. There is nowadays a myriad of training courses, books, manuals, standards, reports, tools and all sorts of resources related to circular economy. Therefore, one of the main challenges for the consortium was to bring novelty to what is already available and this was achieved through (i) the systemizing of existing, disperse, knowledge, keeping in mind the applicability in Higher Education study programmes and in companies, together with the target sectors; and (ii) the development of new contents and tools where gaps existed. The approach followed is framed by the understanding of circular economy in KATCH_e: “Circular economy is a system that is restorative and regenerative by intention and design, which maximizes ecosystem functioning and human well-being with the aim of accomplishing sustainable development. It replaces the end-of-life concept with closing, slowing and narrowing the resource flows in production, distribution and consumption processes, extracting economical value and usefulness of materials, equipment and goods for the longest possible time, in cycles energized by renewable sources. It is enabled by design, innovation, new business and organizational models and responsible production and consumption”. Following this understanding, eight theoretical modules and seven practical tools have been developed, according to a framework organized in four main areas: (1) Basic knowledge (provided by the “Introduction to the CE” theoretical module and the “KATCH-Up Board game”); (2) The business approach, required for the success of new, more circular and sustainable products or product-service combinations (“Business models” and “Value Chains” modules, complemented by the “CE Strategist” and the “Value Chain and Stakeholder Analysis” tools); (3) a third area dedicated to product and product-service system design (with three modules, “Processes and Materials, “Design and development and “Radical innovation and collaborative design processes”, and two tools, “CE Designer” and “Circular Economy Journey Map”); and (4) a support area with contents on assessment and communication in circular economy (with two modules, “Life cycle perspective” and “Communication”, and three tools: “CE Analyst”, “KATCHing Carbon” and “Circularity Indicator”). This paper presents the foundations and characteristics of these innovative, multidisciplinary training materials and tools, as well as preliminary experiences in relation to their testing, both in-classroom and in company environments, and with the support of a wide stakeholders network. During the development of its activities and outputs, KATCH_e had a mobilizing and networking role of stakeholders (companies, public entities, schools, NGOs, entrepreneurs, consortia of other ongoing projects, etc.) who saw in the project not only the opportunity to share knowledge, but also the trigger of other training and implementation initiatives to put circular economy in practice.