A successor to the 2021 Circular Economy Innovations Grants Scheme (CEIGS) is expected to be announced in April 2022 with significantly increased funding to be available.
The purpose of the CEIGS is to provide support to projects which work in the Circular Economy space with the aim of both advancing the Circular Economy in Ireland and raising awareness of the need to transition to the Circular Economy.
What is the Circular Economy?
The circular economy is a framework for managing resources so nothing is wasted. It focuses on keeping, products and materials in use— through reuse, remanufacture, and recycling— for as long as possible to achieve optimum value. The ultimate aim is a closed-loop supply chain that “designs out” waste. In maximising economic, natural and social capital, it is considered a vital solution for helping businesses tackle sustainability challenges, drive productivity while stimulating economic growth. As such, the drive towards greater circularity is a key pillar of Ireland’s Climate Action Plan (2021).
The First CEIGS
The objective of the first CEIGS was to support innovation and demonstration circular economy projects by social enterprises, voluntary and community organisations and small/medium businesses (defined as those with less than 50 employees).
The 2021 fund was not aimed at large scale businesses and the maximum grant available was €50,000. Larger businesses should note that support for Circular Economy initiatives is available to Enterprise Ireland clients under the Green Start and Green Plus initiatives. Similar support programmes are available through the IDA and Údarás na Gaeltachta.
That said the 2021 CEIGS paid out €490,000 to ten projects. An initial €250,000 budget allocation was almost doubled on foot of a high number of quality applications.
The 2021 projects target circularity in areas such as sustainable fashion, marine plastics, reusable food packaging and construction.
The recipients were:
- AM Acoustic Materials
- Community Resources Network Ireland
- Cork Environmental Forum
- Everlend Ltd
- GIY Ireland
- Irish Green Building Council
- Marine Applications Ltd T/A Verifact
- Novelplast Teoranta
- PACE Organisation
- Thriftify Technologies Ltd
- Changing people’s outlook
The 2022 CEIGS
We expect that the 2022 CEIGS will be informed by the Whole of Government Circular Economy Strategy 2022-23 published in December 2021 and the recent Circularity Gap Report published by the OECD.
If you are thinking that the new CEIGS might be relevant to you, consider if you can address at least one of the following questions in the affirmative.
- Do you need support with adopting a more systemic approach to product or process design for material selection to enable extended lifetime and future use of your products or services?
- How might you incorporate digital technology to optimise resource utilisation and improve the timeliness and quality of information sharing in your supply chain?
- To what extent can you extend the productive capacity of existing resources through business model innovation initiatives that include maintenance and repair initiatives or take-back schemes?
- Can you recover valuable resources with reuse or recycling potential from existing waste streams?
- Do you have opportunities to switch away from non-renewable resources towards more regenerative, renewable and non-toxic resources?
- How might you collaborate with your supply chain partners and with public agencies to increase transparency and create new sustainable forms of value?
- Are there opportunities to reconfigure your business value model to surface new alignments between products and services?
Circularity is both an economic opportunity and an imperative for a sustainable transition.
For advice on how your organisation can integrate circular thinking with your corporate strategy, do not hesitate to contact our circular economy team.