London launch for new circular economy support programme
Advance London, a new EU-funded circular economy programme aiming to help SMEs to go ‘circular’ and become resource efficient, launched at London’s City Hall on Tuesday (25 April).
The three-year programme, set to run until December 2019, was established in January 2017 by the London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB) and is jointly funded by LWARB, which works with London’s borough councils to promote waste prevention and recycling through a range of programmes, and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
The aim of the programme is to provide business support and advice to London’s SMEs to allow them to make the transition to circular economy business models, or to build on those already in place, increasing their short- and long-term resilience against problems such as resource scarcity or price volatility.
Advance London will begin delivering direct support to SMEs from May, now the planning and development phase has been completed.
This support will come in the form of a team of business advisers delivering a series of events, workshops and one-to-one support for SMEs in London who want to adopt a circular model, as well as advice for existing circular businesses to improve growth and competitiveness.
Councillor Bassam Mahfouz, Board member and circular economy lead at LWARB, said: “London is home to some impressive circular economy leaders. The nature of the circular economy requires collaboration throughout the supply chain and changes the way businesses interact with consumers – Advance London aims to help SMEs in the capital do exactly that.
“As more and more businesses ‘go circular’ new opportunities will emerge for SMEs to be innovative in the way that they tackle market challenges, and this programme will help a number of businesses through the transition.
“We believe London can be a real world leader in nurturing circular economy businesses and become a genuinely resource-efficient global city.”
The Advance London programme follows on the heels of a study published in 2015 by the Waste and Resources Programme (WRAP) on the circular economy, finding that the a transition to the circular economy could create 40,000 new jobs in London with the wider European potential benefit of three million jobs by 2030.
The EU has been keen to fund a series of initiatives to aid in the development of the circular economy as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020, with Advance London set to receive £628,936 from the ERDF.
It remains to be seen if this level of funding will be affected during what look set to be protracted Brexit negotiations over the coming years.
More information about the Advance London programme can be found on LWARB’s website.