By Freek van Eijk

The Holland Circular Hotspot connects companies, knowledge institutes and authorities to support international collaboration and knowledge exchange on Dutch circular economy. At the same time, we are eager to learn from the experiences of other circular experts around the world. We help Dutch and international companies and organizations find the right partners to start- or scale-up their circular business initiatives internationally. Thanks to our extensive global network we can always create a match with the right experts.

The first Circular Economy Hotspot event in North America was recently held at the University of Guelph. The Circular Economy Showcase 2024 was the 13th Circular Economy Hotspot event held to date. We had participants from around the world, including Turkey, Mexico, the United States, and former organizers from Germany and the Netherlands.

I was honoured to deliver the opening keynote and ‘s Special Envoy Professor Jacqueline Cramer provided the closing remarks.

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A circular economy transition is all about combining “bottom-up” and “top-down actions,” it is about leadership and building coalitions. Within networks such as circular hubs, frontrunning stakeholders can start initiatives, pilots or demonstration projects in coalitions of the willing. They build trust and have a “learning by doing” approach.

Policy makers set goals and standards but entrepreneurs should not wait for them. Citizen engagement is essential and everybody has a role to play to help create their own value whether economic, social or environmental.

If “you can measure it you can manage it” is a true statement. Data is needed to show success and in order to celebrate success. We work internationally in a collaborative way, because we have so much to learn from each other.

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The most cited keywords during the event were: collaboration, communication, waste as a resource, and pilot projects. The work of our circular friends in Ontario, especially in the field of agri-food and in the wider bio-economy is impressive. Built environment initiatives are also in motion. There were great examples of Dutch and Canadian innovations in building and construction, packaging and food:

We were also impressed by the social projects on reducing food waste in communities and enforcing small enterprises in the City Of Guelph. Great work Vivian De Giovanni Justine Dainard David Ma and so many others. Marjan Lahuis and Harman Idema of the Consulate General of the Netherlands in Toronto did a fantastic job during the event. We have enormous gratitude to Colin Isaacs for making this happen in Canada!

I’m really proud to announce that the next edition of the the North and Central America CE Hotspot event will take place in Mexico.

Asked about her attitude in uncertain global times former minister Cramer mentioned she has “active hope” for the future. So let us pick up the ball and build the future we want and collaborate and implement circular economies internationally and locally.

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Freek van EijkFreek  is the director of the Holland Circular Hotspot. 

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