Digital for circular economy and zero pollution


This CONNECT University session explored the linkages between digitalisation and the circular economy, focusing on the opportunities created by digitally-enabled solutions, and also the challenges associated with harnessing their full potential for the transition to a circular economy. In the same time, the participants discovered more on how moving to a circular economy represents a major prerequisite to achieve many of the other environmental and social Sustainable Development Goals.

Background information

This event is part of the CONNECT University Summer School 2021 on Digital for our Planet that aims to present cutting-edge innovations addressing how can digital technologies be harnessed to tackle climate change, both in terms of a greener digital system, as well as their role in helping reducing carbon emissions across industries. Check this blogpost for the full programme and more information.

Digital for circular economy and zero pollution


Moderator and introductory speech: Joachim D’Eugenio, DG ENV Quality of Life, European Commission

As environmental engineer by training, Joachim D'Eugenio started working in the German Federal Environment Agency (UBA) in Berlin. In 1999, he moved to the European Commission where he was involved in the negotiations and the implementation of the Water Framework Directive until 2007. After a few years in the Commission's Secretariat General, he became Deputy Head of Unit in 2011 working on marine and water industry policy. From 2015 to 2020, he joined the Unit on Compliance & Better Regulation of DG Environment where he was leading the Fitness Check on Environmental Reporting and led the agenda on digitalisation and the environment. Since 16 January 2020, he is working as Policy Assistant and Senior Expert for Veronica Manfredi, the Director for Quality of Life in DG Environment coordinating the work on the Zero Pollution Ambition and contributing to many Green Deal and other initiatives.

  • David Jensen, Coordinator for Digital Transformation, UN Environment Programme

David Jensen is the coordinator for Digital Transformation at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). In this capacity, he is responsible for developing the new digital transformation strategy and for helping colleagues adopt new digital technologies, mindsets and business processes. The goal of the new strategy and programme of work is to integrate environmental sustainability metrics, values and goals directly into the platforms, algorithms and apps of the digital economy to shift incentives and behaviors. UNEP will harness data and digital technologies to accelerate action and amplify human agency to achieve our climate, nature, and pollution action goals. David also serves as UNEP’s representative within the new Coalition for Digital Environmental Sustainability (CODES) within the UN Secretary General’s Digital Cooperation Roadmap.

David also has a number of significant publications in the field of environmental security and peacebuilding. He was the coordinator and/or co-author of six flagship policy reports on conflict risks and peacebuilding opportunities from natural resources. He was also a series co-editor of a six-volume set of books on post-conflict peacebuilding and natural resource management, with 150 chapters from 225 authors published by Routledge. The cases are open source and can be freely downloaded. David has worked with and advised all of the key peace and security institutions of the UN, including the peacebuilding, peacekeeping, and mediation communities, as well as UN country teams, Resident Coordinators and Special Representatives of the Secretary General. A summary of his publications is available here.

  • Jérôme Petry, Project Leader, Directorate General Industry, New Technologies and Research, The government of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, Ministry of the Economy 

Title of the presentation: Creating a digital circular fingerprint for products

Jérôme Petry, circular economy expert with strong business experience gained in public and private industry, is the Deputy Director Sustainable Technologies at the Ministry of the Economy of Luxembourg, managing the Circular Economy projects and leading the circularity Dataset Initiative. Mr Petry has extensive experience in circular economy and standardization: leading projects in circular economy for public services, its promotion and financing for supporting the private sector. In addition, he is an expert in Performance Service Systems (PSS) and in upscaling of used metallic products designed for printed circuit boards, high frequency and low loss circuit design, chip scale packaging and Lithium-Ion batteries

  • Francesca Poggiali, Public Policy Director Europe, GS1 Global Office

Title of the presentation: Digital for green and green for digital: how to increase product data without increasing CO2?

Francesca Poggiali is a highly committed public policy professional with 25 years-experience in both public and private sectors. With more than ten years at the European Commission and the European Parliament and ten years for a food multinational, Francesca’s experience covers also fast-paced National government environments. Among her biggest achievements, the corporate social responsibility program launched and developed to the highest public recognition for Ferrero International, the convergence of environmental protection and chemical impacts in the framework of the EU Chemical reform, the fight against illicit trade through open non-proprietary standards for GS1.

Francesca studied Corporate Social Responsibility at the Harvard Business School, European Law at Leeds University and at LUISS University in Rome where she received the highest recognition cum laude. She is proficient in 4 languages and she can mix them in a single sentence still providing meaningful statements.

  • Timo Ruohomäki, Program Director, IoT and Data, Forum Virium Helsinki Oy

Title of the presentation: Air Quality Data Supporting Clean Air Route Planning

Timo Ruohomäki works as a Program Director of IoT and Data project portfolio at Forum Virium Helsinki, the innovation company of the city of Helsinki. His professional background is in electrical engineering and enterprise systems. His research interests are in data interoperability and platforms supporting smart city requirements.

Useful resources:

Digital solutions for circular economy and zero pollution - introductory presentation
(2.27 MB - PDF)
Creating a digital circular fingerprint for products
(904.67 KB - PDF)
Digital Technologies to Accelerate a Circular Economy and Zero Pollution
(4.93 MB - PDF)
Digital for green and green for digital
(2.3 MB - PDF)
EU Green Deal digital 4 sustainability climate change Digital for our Planet