A partnership led by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) has issued a call for expressions of interest for pilot projects aiming to accelerate the circular economy in two critical value chains in developing countries, namely textiles and garments, and plastic packaging. Submissions from European Union-headquartered multinational corporations (MNCs) working with suppliers in developing countries to implement circular practices are welcomed.
The call is part of the UNIDO-led, five-year “SWITCH to Circular Economy Value Chains” project, delivered in partnership with Chatham House, Circle Economy and the European Investment Bank. The project is funded by the European Union and exemplifies the international dimension of the new EU Circular Economy Action Plan.
Complex and multi-faceted, the transition towards a circular economy is imperative to achieve substantial economic, environmental and societal benefits, which can significantly reduce poverty. However, businesses in developing countries face significant technical and financial challenges in implementing circular economy practices. Therefore, there is a need for an effective, independently verifiable and replicable demonstration of the approach’s benefits, with European MNCs and their suppliers having a critical role in running well-designed pilots that can catalyze the switch to circularity.
Accordingly, the SWITCH to Circular Economy Value Chains partnership will connect EU MNCs and their suppliers with circular economy experts to overcome circular economy challenges in pilot projects that involve all relevant actors across value chains. This will, in turn, support the circular economy transition, thereby contributing to sustainable growth, low-carbon and climate-resilient development, the creation of decent jobs, and a safer, healthier and pollution-free environment.
Ultimately, the project will contribute to multiple Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); notably SDG8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), SDG9 (Inclusive and Sustainable Industrialization), SDG12 (Responsible Consumption and Production), and SDG13 (Climate Action).
 Subject to finalisation of contractual arrangements