Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development

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critical subjects circular economy

Environment: ICESP, accelerating the transition to a circular economy

Accelerating the transition to a circular economy through the recovery of critical and strategic raw materials from secondary sources is the focus of the sixth annual conference of the Italian platform of actors for a circular economy (ICESP) which was held in Rome at  Unioncamere.

Launched six years ago as the Italian Hub of its analogous European initiative (Ecesp), ICESP comprises over 800 experts from public institutions, companies and trade associations, the world of research and civil society.

In his opening intervention, ENEA President Gilberto Dialuce said: "Icesp, that Enea promoted in 2018, is contributing significantly to the transition of our country to a circular economy. Enea has a large and interdisciplinary knowledge of all aspects of the circular economy, with actions concerning the entire chain of resource implementation. At national level, it supports the ministries of the environment and energy security and companies and Made in Italy and contributes to the national critical raw materials and the Italian phosphorus platform, participating in European projects and initiatives like the European Raw Materials Alliance ”.

In his speech, Roberto Morabito, Icesp President and Head of the ENEA Sustainability, Circularity and Adaptation to Climate Change of Production and Territorial Systems, said: "The ICESP platform today represents one of the main offices to address and discuss priority and strategic issues for the circular transition of the country. This year’s conference focus is on critical raw materials, a crucial theme for the European Union, which for over 15 years has put in place a periodically updated strategy, particularly for Italy, one of the poorest countries in critical raw materials, forced to import over 99% of critical raw materials necessary for hi-tech industrial chains from countries sometimes characterized by strong political and social instability ".

 “Finally - continued Morabito - also in Italy this theme is taking hold, with the inclusion in the national strategy for the circular economy and the establishment of the Critic raw materials table, coordinated by the Ministry of Companies and Made in Italy and the Ministry of the Environment and Energy Safety. Moreover, two of the four themes of this table, Ecodesign and Urban Mining, were the subject of ICESP consultation in 2023, involving experts on eco-innovation, eco-planning, legislation, value chains, technologies and good practices ".

In the first session of the conference, point of views of ministries, companies and young people were presented. In the second session, the ICESP working groups illustrated the results of the activities carried out this year.

"The ecological transition and digitization - explained Claudia Brunori, deputy director of the ENEA Circular Economy Department - entail a significant increase in the use of critical raw materials, key for innovation technologies, which guarantee high-level hi-Tech performance. A 4.5 times increase in demand for rare earths for wind turbines and an 11 times increase in lithium demand for electric vehicles by 2030 are estimated”.

"Recycling from secondary sources - concluded Brunori - is one of the pillars in the European sustainable strategy of supply critical raw materials still little exploited: systems, innovative technologies with high efficiency and selectivity, regulatory simplification and enabling policies are needed. The circular economy can play a strategic role, but large spectrum initiatives, from ECODESIGN to use and reuse up to the enhancement of products at the end of life are necessary ".

General director of the Mase Silvia Grandi, plenipotentiary minister Gianpaolo Cutillo del Maci, councilor of the CNG Veronica Barbati and, for companies, Giorgio Arienti of Erion Weee, Maria Cristina Pasi, Enelx, Valentina Mingo of Ance and Sebastien Bumbolo of Iren, also participated.

For more information please contact:i:

Grazia Barberio, ENEA - Sustainability, Circularity and Adaptation to Climate Change of Production and Territorial Systems Department - ICESP technical coordination,