Progetto ECCO – Community Circular Economies

"ECCO," a project of Legambiente, funded by the Ministry of Labor and Social Policies, has successfully run for 18 months. In this duration, it involved over 700 local entities, 24 schools, and over 3000 students across Italy. The primary goal of this initiative was to promote the concept of circular economies by providing targeted educational programs. These programs aimed to encourage a production model that not only reduces waste and pollution but also opens avenues for novel forms of employment. During the project, 15 "Circular Economy Hubs," known as Rihub, were established despite the challenges posed by the ongoing pandemic. These hubs played a crucial role in organizing professional training courses focused on green jobs. The training covered various sustainable sectors, from cyclo-tourism to apiculture, involving over 600 participants. Notably, 10% of these participants belonged to vulnerable categories, such as the unemployed and patients from mental health departments. One of the project's innovations is the introduction of the concept of "circular inclusion." This entails addressing both environmental and social challenges, particularly emphasized by the ongoing pandemic. The involved territories demonstrated their ability to implement inclusive paths, specifically tailored to circular economy principles. Insights gathered from two surveys targeting businesses within the project highlighted interesting trends. The majority (69%) of circular businesses operate in the manufacturing sector, while the remaining 31% are in services. Key circular actions identified included waste minimization (79%) and a reduction in the usage of resources like water, energy, and raw materials (67%). However, challenges were noted, with only 30% of businesses considering product repair and reuse. Furthermore, the resilience of green businesses during the pandemic was evident. These businesses not only showcased competitiveness but also recorded a 16% increase in turnover, surpassing the 9% observed in non-green businesses. Looking towards the future job market, the project anticipates a demand for 1.6 million workers with green skills in the next four years. Circular economy and digital skills are identified as pivotal factors transforming the job market, with an 82% demand for green skills and 93% for digital skills. HumaCapiAct: Sede Legale: Via San Domenico 27, 10122, Torino Partita IVA: 12010090012 - Codice Fiscale 12010090012 Phone: (+39) 3208917912 E-mail: Web Site: In conclusion, the ECCO project, with its focus on fostering community circular economies, emerges as a comprehensive initiative addressing environmental challenges, enhancing social inclusion, and showcasing resilience in times of crisis. The growing demand for green skills underscores the strategic significance of sustainable practices in shaping the future job market. Social Aspects: Trained over 600 participants, with 10% belonging to vulnerable categories. Concept Introduced: Circular Inclusion. Addressing environmental and social challenges highlighted by the pandemic. Territories demonstrated the ability to create inclusive paths focused on circular economy principles Circular Aspects: Promote circular economy through educational paths, aiming for reduction of waste and pollution and creation of new forms of employment. Establishment of 15 "circulatory economy hubs" (Rihub). Despite pandemic challenges, organized professional training courses for green jobs. Focus on various sustainable sectors, including cyclo-tourism and apiculture

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EntityBest practice
SCE expertise Green skills
Social inclusion
Societal Impact
Circular economy

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