Circular Economy Taxonomy

Mission statement

CircularPSP aims to solve the common challenge of municipalities to transition towards a circular economy (CE). Through CircularPSP, eight leading CE-cities and regions are to launch a competitive tender for technical solutions aiming to overcome organisational, informational and operational barriers. However, multiple standards and taxonomy-related issues are universal and should not be solved in parallel. Instead, CircularPSP seeks to involve key stakeholders, leading companies, and academics to tackle the following issues together:

  • Define core terminology (i.e. Taxonomy) to ensure different artificial intelligences (AIs) do not increase confusion about circular economy but lead to more clarity.
  • Identify a set of core data sources for AIs to ensure that the learning does cover all relevant circularity areas in a city instead of being dominated by the most advanced value chain or region etc.
  • Document a core set of data standards and protocols to ensure the intended scalable solutions are fit for purpose to operate in a field with diverse IT ecosystems.

Advancing on these aspects will directly help municipalities in coordinating their effort and improve the solutions to be developed by suppliers. Additionally, it decreases effort for each individual supplier and is therefore the most pragmatic way for a complex problem like the CE Taxonomy. Involving these different types of stakeholders ensures that the outcomes of the Working Groups Meetings are as valuable as possible.


To realise the mission statements, a predetermined sequence of research activities will be followed. As depicted in the figure below, this entails a workflow that starts with the development of a White Paper. This is succeeded by a Working Group Meeting to discuss the most recent version of the White Paper, open questions and gaps identified in both the Paper as well as the Working Documents. These discussions feed the next phase, in which specific topics discussed in the meetings are further explored and analysed. Contributions can be brought forward in the Working Documents. Subsequently, this triggers a new version of the White Paper.

This continuous process will occur during all the phases of the CircularPSP project.

CE Taxonomy Process

How to contribute?

The work will be conducted as an open working group. Any interested party is welcome to join and contribute at events and at any time in a living document which is to evolve over time with initial push coming from CircularPSP or voluntary contributors. Permanent members will be the CircularPSP consortium and all selected suppliers. The online “living” file will be maintained and versioned by the CircularPSP consortium. Versions will trigger follow-up events (2-4 per year) to update on developments and resolve contradictions etc.

  • The first meeting has laid out the white paper and cooperatively set out the interesting terminology and data sources for municipalities and where contributions are required due to gaps in existing relevant taxonomy.
  • The initial phase will focus on collection and definition of terms and data sources to cover circular economy, enabling AI holistically in the context of municipalities. One source will be the offers of suppliers tendering for the CircularPSP solution.
  • Over time, the taxonomy will be validated with (selected) classifications used the EU taxonomy in upcoming standards to support and enable further regulation by clearly identifying the remaining gaps.
  • Where possible benchmarks – going beyond minimum requirements or boundaries – will be added as complementary information. A policy paper will be authored for submission to the EC.

Working group meetings

Next: Phase I

Working files

CE Terminology & Standards (WORD)

CE Data sources (EXCEL)


White Paper (preliminary version)

Challenge Brief

Pitch Deck

Prior Working Groups

21.09.23: VideoPPPNews  


August 2023
White Paper (preliminary version)

To achieve a common understanding of taxonomies, an initial White Paper was developed by RISE and empirica.

September 2023
Kick-off Working Group

On the 21st of September, the Kick-off for the CE Taxonomy working group took place, jointly organised by empirica and RISE.

June 2024
Phase I

Phase I takes 5 months and Suppliers will test the CE Taxonomy in AI mock-ups. At least one open Working Group meetings will be held.

November 2024
Phase II

Phase II takes 8 months and Suppliers will test the CE Taxonomy in the operational CE-solution. At least two open Working Group meetings will be held.

July 2025
Phase III

Phase III takes 11 months, Suppliers and Procurers will use the CE Taxonomy at demonstration sites. At least two open Working Group meetings will be held.

May 2026
Policy paper

Towards the end of CircularPSP, a policy paper (based on the White Paper) will be presented to relevant stakeholders, including the European Commission.