New ICLEI Circulars platform launched with flagship publication “City Practitioners Handbook: Circular Food Systems”

ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability launched the ICLEI Circulars platform, which works across regions to facilitate the circular economy transition at the local level. ICLEI Circulars’ flagship publication offers a practical set of tools for cities to kick-start their circular economy through food systems work.

The ICLEI Circulars platform consists of circular practices in three regional hubs: Africa, China, and Europe Hub, which will allow the platform to work with communities around the world to find the best circular solutions to address pressing local challenges and offer sector-specific guidance for cities to begin working with circular development solutions where their need is greatest.

In particular, the ICLEI Beijing Office has led the content development of the China Hub. Through the lens of the circular economy, ICLEI Beijing reviewed the priorities and needs of Chinese cities, showcased Beijing, Shenzhen, Shanghai, and Suzhou cities’ circular approaches, identified leading cities’ – Changchun, Chengdu, Datong, Hong Kong, Shenzhen, and Tianjin – needs, and explored potential interventions.

ICLEI Circulars supports the ICLEI network throughout the transition to a circular economy by raising awareness and political momentum on the urgency of shifting away from unsustainable consumption and production patterns and designing policy approaches that address concrete challenges.

“In my role as global portfolio holder for the Circular Development pathway at ICLEI, I very much welcome the launch of the ICLEI Circulars platform. We, at the city of Turku, look forward to working with local governments around the world to advance circularity and stand ready to support our peers on the challenges they face with implementation,” said Minna Arve, Mayor of Turku, Finland, and the newly-elected ICLEI Vice-President.

“Circular economy actions provide significant opportunities for cities to reach climate neutrality goals, preserve biodiversity and enhance urban environments and local economic development. The ICLEI Circulars platform is a catalyst that offers cities concrete instruments and practical tools to take action in this field” said Gino Van Begin, Secretary General of ICLEI – Local Government for Sustainability.

The flagship publication, City Practitioners Handbook: Circular Food Systems, offers practical tools and learnings from 50 local and regional governments on circular food systems and was developed with contributions from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the United Nations Environment Programme, Circle Economy, The Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra, Metabolic and RUAF.


City Practitioners Handbook.PNG


“Applying circular economy principles to the food system will ensure that food actively supports natural systems, production is brought closer to where food is eaten, and the concept of waste is eliminated. Through these actions, cities can generate significant environmental, economic, and health benefits worth an estimated USD 2.7 trillion annually by 2050, within and beyond their boundaries,” says Sarah O’Carroll, Cities Lead at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

“City governments play a key role in transforming the food system but often don’t know where to start. The Practitioners Handbook fills this gap, providing tools and resources to support city officers in transforming their city food system to one that is low-carbon, resilient, and circular” she continued.

The Milan Urban Food Policy Pact brings cities together that are committed to developing inclusive, resilient, safe, and diverse food systems. 210 cities from all over the world, representing more than 450 million inhabitants, have already signed. The pact lays out a set of 37 recommended actions and 27 of these actions are directly addressed in this handbook and illustrated through real-life practices.

Tim Forslund, Circular Economy Specialist from the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra said: “It is great to see so many concrete examples of what the circular food system transition can look like at the local level and best practices from cities worldwide compiled in one handbook.”

“There is a pressing need to enhance awareness of local governments, and other stakeholders about the potential of food and urban food systems in climate change adaptation and mitigation, as well as its developmental benefits,” said René van Veenhuizen, Secretariat of the RUAF Global Partnership on Sustainable Urban Agriculture and Food Systems. “This resource brings together helpful tool examples on how CITYFOOD members and other cities have embedded circularity within their food systems. We hope it will stimulate all food system actors to develop actions using the instruments and approaches that are available to them, and to establish enabling, inclusive governance mechanisms.”


ICLEI’s Green Circular Cities Coalition

Launched by ICLEI East Asia in 2019, the Green Circular Cities Coalition presents a platform to connect cities, experts, businesses, and relevant stakeholders to shift the mindset from “waste management” to “resource management”.

ICLEI East Asia is currently reviewing the priorities of the 6 Coalition member cities through interviews and consultations and will update the Coalition’s strategies and work plans accordingly. Previously, the publication Best Practices of Circular Food Production and Consumption in Japan and Korea: A Handbook for Local Governments has also been released.


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