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ETIN Seminar on Platforms, Circular Economy and Transformative Innovation: A Cross-Industry Comparison

03 March 2023 10:00 - 16:00
Geneva Switzerland


One of the biggest challenges the world faces today is the rapid use and depletion of natural resources, which exacerbates global warming and food, health and economic insecurity. Recent studies show, that material extraction and consumption would have to be reduced by one third, to remain with the natural resource limits of the planet, especially in key sectors such as agri-food, transport, manufactured goods and infrastructure.

Transitioning to economic circularity will be essential to addressing this challenge. The circular economy is a model that strives to reduce waste and pollution, lengthen product lifecycles, and facilitate widespread sharing of natural and physical resources. It aims for a vibrant, competitive economy that generates decent jobs while maintaining planetary resource limits. However, currently only 7.2 per cent of the global economy is circular, lower than the 9.1 per cent in 2018, with more than 90 per cent of materials that wasted, lost or cannot be reused.

The platform economy will play an important role in facilitating the transition to circular economy. The platform economy can help create new value, scale up activities and overall reduces transaction costs. Especially with the ongoing digital transformation through technological advancement, the rise of (mobile) internet and increasingly universal and affordable connectivity, the platform economy has allowed for the rise of large and successful corporations, such as Google, Amazon, AirBnB. The potential of the platform economy as an innovation process to upgrade, improve and transform the re-commerce3 sector to achieve economic circularity, however, is not yet fully realized, for example, in the industrial, retail and food sector. Doing so will require us to re-think existing activities and value chains.

One of the main challenges to fostering the platform and transition to the circular economy is regulation. Governments need to help expand (digital) infrastructures and strengthen data privacy but also develop a systematic policy approach that addresses market failures, reduces barriers and promotes innovation-driven growth towards the platform and circular economy. To ensure circularity across the value chain, policy will need target a broad range of actors across sectors, facilitate cooperation and collaboration and provide the right incentives to experiment, re-shape and transform production and consumption patterns.


This seminar brings together the UNECE Secretariat, ETIN members and international partners and experts around the topic of platform and circular economy. The seminar will provide the opportunity for participants to openly discuss and exchange experiences on the role that the platform and circular economy plays in driving innovation towards digital and green, societal transformation, in line with UN Agenda 2030 and the targets outlined in the SDGs, specifically SDG 9 Industry, infrastructure and innovation and SDG 12 Sustainable production and consumption.

For any additional questions on the event and/or on ETIN, please contact [email protected]

Materials from the Seminar 

Presentations available here

Part 1:

Part 2: