Since 2016, delegates from business, politics, science, and public initiatives meet annually at different locations across Europe to learn about circular business models, strategies, and approaches from the respective host regions. After the Hotspot took place in the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Scotland, Belgium, Catalonia, and Germany (North Rhine-Westphalia), this year's host was Dublin.
Across Ireland, several circular economic successes could be discovered and were showcased in various ways at the Hotspot. In particular, social enterprises were a focus of the event. As the previous host region, North Rhine-Westphalia was strongly represented at this year‘s Hotspot. On behalf of the Green Economy Network.NRW, Greta Dekker also attended the event.
The event began on May 29 with an opening ceremony in the Round Room of Dublin's Mansion House. Part of the ceremony were speeches by Caroline Conroy (Lord Mayor of Dublin at the time), Ossian Smyth (Minister of State with Communications and Circular Economy and responsibility for Public Procurement and eGovernment), Owen Keegan (Chief Executive of Dublin City Council) and other guests. The conference on the following day included prominent speakers and expert panels that looked at the latest trends in the circular economy. Emphasis was placed on the implementation of common concepts and the presentation of successful case studies. The workshops on day three provided excellent opportunities to exchange ideas with peers and gain a deeper understanding of specific topics. Various workshops were held on four main topics: food & bioeconomy, built environment, design & production and social enterprise. The last day focused on practical examples of the circular economy in Ireland. The Green Economy Network.NRW joined the excursion to the Cloughjordan Ecovillage, where many common concepts of circular economy and sustainable living have been implemented.
With its strong emphasis on social concepts and the approach of putting the implementation of the concepts in the foreground, this year’s Hotspot gave a new perspective to the circular economy discussion. The event showed that circular economy approaches are diverse and can be implemented on a large scale to become mainstream. The Green Economy Network.NRW is very grateful to have been part of such a successful event with many interesting, professional exchange opportunities.