DYNAMIX Final assessment results and policy recommendations - Final project newsletter

Dear Reader,

The DYNAMIX project has come to an end in March 2016! After 3.5 years of intense work and valuable opportunities for exchange with many of you (for which we would like to thank you very much!) all work has been concluded.

Although we are sad that this inspiring, challenging and very participatory DYNAMIX project is over, we are happy to annouce that

  • the joint final DYNAMIX-POLFREE conference “Policy mixes promoting resource efficiency for a circular economy” will took place on 15-16 February 2016 in Brussels;
  • all outstanding analyses have been finalised;
  • and policy recommendations have been formulated

in the last months since the 4th DYNAMIX newsletter.

Through our project findings we hope to contribute to more ambitious resource policy and to foster ongoing discussions and developments towards a resource efficient circular economy fit for decoupling of resource use and environmental impacts from economic activities.

We hope that this newsletter will encourage you to disseminate our project findings through your networks and make use of them for your own work as much as possible - we are looking very much forward to that and would like to sincerely thank you for your support!

In case that a link in this newsletter does not work, please have a look at our website's results and events sections.

We would like to thank you all for your interest in the topic and in the project and look forward to staying in touch via the project findings and further channels of exchange.

With kind regards,

the DYNAMIX team

In this newsletter:

  1. Qualitative assessment of DYNAMIX policy mixes - summary report published
  2. Physical and environmental quantitative ex ante assessment of DYNAMIX policy mixes - report published
  3. Quantitative economic ex-ante assessment of DYNAMIX policy mixes - report published
  4. Development of DYNAMIX Policy Mixes - revised report published
  5. Final project conference documented
  6. Policy syntheses and recommendations
  7. Scientific results published  in peer-reviewed journals


1. Qualitative assessment of DYNAMIX policy mixes - summary report published

This report builds on the findings of the qualitative ex-ante assessments of the policy mixes developed under the DYNAMIX project, reported separately in Nesbit et al, 2015; Bukowski et al, 2015; Bigano et al, 2015; Lucha and Roberts, 2015; and Vanner et all, 2015.  In doing so, it identifies some of the challenges associated with the forward-looking evaluation of policy mixes generally, and with the specific policy mixes identified by the DYNAMIX project. It also notes key areas of consonance and divergence between the qualitative ex ante assessments under consideration, and the quantitative ex-ante assessments carried out in parallel, and identifies possible implications for policy. The report can be found here.

2. Physical and environmental quantitative ex ante assessment of DYNAMIX policy mixes - report published

This report presents quantitative estimates of the environmental significance of changes in material flows that can result from specific instruments in the three policy mixes designed. We applied life cycle assessment (LCA), carbon footprinting, and material pinch analysis to estimate the potential resource and environmental benefits of the key instruments of the policy mixes. The effectiveness of these instruments was first estimated with a macro-economic model (see Report on Economic Quantitative Ex-Ante Assessment of Proposed Policy Mixes). We then used LCA to estimate the environmental significance of these effects. These estimates are very rough because they are affected by simplifications and assumptions in the macro-economic model as well as the LCA model.

The results indicate that the ambitious DYNAMIX targets require significantly stronger and more effective policy measures than those outlined in the project. Such strong policies will, of course, be much more difficult to implement. It might also be difficult to model their impacts, because they are likely to change core assumptions or key mechanisms of the models: the economic structure, the level of technology, behavioural patterns, etc.

Even though we modelled individual elements of the policy mixes separately, we can draw a couple of conclusions regarding how policies can be combined. The feebate systems in the overarching policy mix could, for example, be combined with sustained and increased spending on R&D, from the metals policy mix, to increase the likelihood that the large potential benefits of a feebate system are realised.
Further benefits can be obtained if the DYNAMIX policy mixes are combined with policies outside the scope of DYNAMIX. Instruments such as R&D spending and feebate systems can result in electrification of cars and other products. This is more likely to increase resource-efficiency and reduce GHG emissions if combined with an energy policy that makes the electricity production more efficient and carbon-lean. The report can be found here.

3. Quantitative economic ex-ante assessment of DYNAMIX policy mixes - report published

The purpose of deliverable D6.2 is to support with a quantitative economic assessment the evaluation of a set of policies scrutinized within the DYNAMIX project, aiming to promote decoupling of resources use from GDP and material efficiency within the EU.

The analytical tools used for the investigation are three macro-economic models, ICES, MEMO and MEWA, all belonging to the category of Computable General Equilibrium modelling, but with complementary characteristics. They all can assess direct and indirect policy effects on the whole economic system and the full macroeconomic feedbacks, triggered by the policy interventions. However, ICES is better suited to capture intra and extra EU trade effects, while MEWA and MEMO are better equipped to represent technological change, forward looking agents behaviour and have a richer representation of labour supply.

The strongest message from the analysis is that the policy cost, whatever the policy, crucially depends upon (a) the sensitivity of the production system to the dynamic incentive to dematerialize induced by the policy signal, i.e. ultimately upon the reaction of technological progress (b) the use of tax revenues. A responsive technological progress coupled with cuts in distortionary taxes like those on labour can produce more material efficiency and higher GDP. Nonetheless material intensive sectors will be penalized. The report can be found here.


4. Development of DYNAMIX Policy Mixes - revised report published

Based on the lessons learnt from the qualitative and quantitative ex-ante assessment, this report has been revised. It presents the outcomes from the assessment of public acceptability of the policy packages as proposed within the DYNAMIX project. It forms part of the DYNAMIX project’s larger ex-ante policy assessment of the environmental, social, economic, legal and public acceptability implications of implementing a number of policy packages that seek to achieve absolute decoupling by 2050. An important element underlying the analysis is reference to paradigms in the design and reconfiguration of the policy packages to alter the basis of public acceptability. Theoretical pathways for paradigm change are used to map-out pathways of interactions and inform policy sequencing in a way that can lead to the required paradigm changes over time. The approach used to assess public acceptability has been to reference previous relevant public discourses, as a means of understanding how the public would likely respond if the policy were to be proposed in the real world. This approach helps identify where public concerns lay, and therefore where thresholds in public acceptability exist. Mitigations are then proposed to ensure that EU-wide implementation is feasible. Initial assessments suggested that, of the 14 policies that underwent full assessment, 7 required mitigation. The report concludes by identifying where these early policies may lay the ground for more far-reaching policies to be considered. The revised report can be found here.

5. Final project conference documented

After 3.5 years of intensive research and analysis, the two sister projects DYNAMIX and POLFREE projects, both funded by the European Commission FP7 program, will come to a close in March 2016. Therefore, the main research results and messages on policy mixes for a resource efficient EU from the two projects were presented and discussed in the context of resource efficiency beyond a circular economy.

Overall, 134 experts from 16 countries participated in the final conference, representing business (25%), policy (17%), academia (37%), civil society organisations (17%) and other (including international organisations, 4%). A documentation of the final conference can be found here.

6. Policy syntheses and recommendations

The project delivered policy syntheses and recommendations in relation to

7. Scientific results published in peer-reviewed journals

Selected research results have been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals:

1) Hirschnitz-Garbers, Martin; Adrian Tan; Albrecht Gradmann and Tanja Srebotnjak 2015: “Key drivers for unsustainable resource use – categories, effects and policy pointers”. Journal of Cleaner Production.

2) In response to the call for papers for the DYNAMIX special issue on "Policy mixes for resource efficiency - conceptual issues, design and assessment challenges", which was closed in January 2016, the first batch of papers is now published and can be accessed here (open access):