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EBRD launches first circular economy initiative in Turkey and the Western Balkans

To address barriers to the transition to a circular economy, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is launching a new programme, called the Circular Economy Regional Initiative, in Turkey and the Western Balkans. The programme will support investments in the private sector, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), to implement innovative and resource-efficient technologies and adopt circular business models in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey.

The Global Environmental Facility (GEF) is funding the programme with 13.76 million US dollars, which will be blended with EBRD finance of approximately 140 million US dollars.

“We are very happy to launch this new programme and team up with our donor, the GEF, to promote the circular economy in Turkey and the Western Balkans,” said Gianpiero Nacci, EBRD Acting Director for Green Economy and Climate Action. “The EBRD is a frontrunner in this field and has an established track record in financing circular economy projects in the regions where it invests. This innovative programme is now the first of its kind in the target countries with a result-based financing mechanism and a clear link to a circular economy action plan.”

The new programme aims to improve chemical and waste management and the security of the supply of raw materials, as well as to increase competitiveness, promote innovation and boost economic growth.

It adopts a regional, performance-based and innovative interest rate-based mechanism to catalyse the transition to a circular economy. This will be achieved by improving the management of raw materials during the full lifecycle of products; diverting waste from landfills and the marine environment; reducing or avoiding GHG emissions; eliminating, preventing and improving the management of harmful chemicals; and implementing GHG emission control technologies and practices. The innovative pricing mechanism involves reducing the interest rate, based on implementation milestones and circular business strategies.

“The GEF is committed to supporting the transition to a circular economy through adopting resource-efficient technologies and greener corporate practices,” added Gustavo Fonseca, GEF Director of Programmes, welcoming the programme as a step forward. “Moving from the current unsustainable, linear model to a circular one requires fundamental changes in the way society produces and consumes valuable resources. I am confident that the Circular Economy Regional Initiative will lead to significant impact across the region, with global environmental benefits from improved chemical and waste management, climate change mitigation, and reduced marine litter.”

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