Europe's top start-ups call for policy makers' support for green revolution

  • Important role of innovation in moving from linear ‘take-make-dispose’ to circular economy.

  • Investment needed at municipal level to adopt circular solutions and encourage further innovation.

  • New research highlights the importance of building consumer awareness and address confidence to help the transition.


Brussels, December 6, 2017 – Europe’s top start-ups today called on EU decision-makers to remove barriers and help introduce measures to encourage innovation for the Circular Economy.  

A panel of the EU’s most innovative entrepreneurs, designers and non-profits took part in a policy roundtable in the European Parliament, where they highlighted the need for greater investment to encourage circular economy innovation and scale-up solutions across the EU. They called on regulators to create the right market conditions to bolster consumer-friendly innovation.

"Innovation will power the circular economy. However, what is clear from the evidence of these start-ups is that Europe needs drastic measures on the local level to boost circular thinking. With stronger support from municipal governments and improved infrastructure we could advance implementation of innovative solutions," said Davor Škrlec, MEP, Greens, EFA, Croatia, who co-hosted the high-level debate.

To reduce wasted resources and maximise the revalorization of goods at the end of their lifecycle into resources we need products and services that are circular by design. Developing circular solutions would decrease Europe’s import dependence and supply risks.

"There is a growing consensus about the benefits of the circular economy amongst policymakers, businesses and governments. Now we need more action: by public authorities, by civil society, and especially by businesses who are best at finding cost-effective solutions," said Kestutis Sadauskas, Director for Circular Economy & Green Growth at DG ENV, European Commission.

Jimmy Östholm collects his award from Daniel Weston, Head of Legal and Corporate Affairs at Nespresso

The start-ups also cited the need to win consumers’ hearts and minds to ensure a smooth transition to a circular economy. A recent study by Nespresso, who hosted the event, found that consumer education is needed to build circular thinking, particularly on recycling.

The research showed that 94% of people globally claim to recycle; yet official government data suggests rate is much lower. The biggest sources of consumers’ confusion are not knowing what can or can’t be recycled (39%). For those that do not recycle, two in five state that the reason for doing so is because they are unsure of how to do so (38%), with 38% blaming a lack of collections.

Daniel Weston, Global Head of Corporate Affairs at Nespresso, said: "Nespresso is known as a brand that is driven by innovation. Just as we revolutionized coffee at home with our precision-consumption system, today we’re innovating on recycling. The solution we’ve developed in France has helped municipalities increase aluminium recycling by 57%, but scaling that up requires investment and a political will at local level."

In a Dragon’s Den-style contest, the audience voted for Vélosophy, a Swedish start-up introduced by Jacob Dalunde MEP, as the most inspiring innovation. Vélosophy make bikes from bamboo to fulfill their one-for-one promise of giving a bicycle to a schoolgirl in Africa for everyone they sell. Founder Jimmy Östholm collected the award, which includes a packaging of mentoring by Nespresso.


Contact information

Katherine Graham Olivera Medugorac
Corporate Communications Manager, Nespresso            European Affairs Manager, Nestlé
+41 (0)21 614 6719 +32 2 529 52 29


About Nestlé Nespresso SA

Nestlé Nespresso SA is the pioneer and reference for highest-quality portioned coffee. The company works with more than 70,000 farmers in 12 countries through its AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program to embed sustainability practices on farms and the surrounding landscapes. Launched in 2003 in collaboration with The Rainforest Alliance, the program helps to improve the yield and quality of harvests, ensuring a sustainable supply of high quality coffee and improving livelihoods of farmers and their communities.

Headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland, Nespresso operates in 69 countries and has more than 12,000 employees. In 2016, it operated a global retail network of more than 600 boutiques. For more information, visit the Nespresso corporate website.