New policy instruments to support a circular economy

Strategic environmental consultancy Solutions

The circular economy has found its way onto the global agenda in efforts to show that sustainability and environmentally friendly management of resources can pay off. Particularly within the construction sector there is great potential for thinking in a more circular way.

COWI was tasked by the Nordic Council of Ministers to examine ways of accelerating a circular economy and resource efficiency in the Nordic construction sector – to benefit both the environment and the economy.

The study is based on a number of interviews with representatives of industry organisations, authorities etc. in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. These interviews helped to identify new policy instruments and key environmental and economic effects of a more circular approach.

In order to realise the expected positive benefits of a circular economy, there is a need for additional documentation of the content and quality of building materials, new requirements for demolition and waste management plans and for documenting the (re-)use of building materials containing recycled resources. The study also concluded that there is a need for wider collaboration between the players throughout the supply chain.


Nordic region

March 2017 to February 2018

Nordic Council of Ministers' Environment and Climate Committee - Environment and Finance group


  • Circular economy
  • Analysis of policy instruments
  • Life cycle assessment
  • Calculation and assessment of increased resource efficiency and potential climate impact
  • Calculation and assessment of economic impact

Get in contact