• Hydrogen Technologies Standards form the basic framework for market ramp-up

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  • Climate change Standards and specifications support climate targets

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  • Smart Farming Standards and specifications are drivers for the digitalization of agriculture

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R-Strategy Framework

Circular Thinking in Standards

Objectives of standardization to support R-Strategies

Traditionally, the main objectives of standards have been to ensure the functionality, safety, quality and compatibility of products and services. By focusing on resource conservation, product life extension, value and quality preservation and waste prevention, standards can help to give these aspects far greater weight than it used to be in the past.

Standards can support these objectives, e.g. standards on topics such as:

  • Environmental-conscious design for all product groups and resources (not just energy)
  • Modular design principles for increasing the reparability of products
  • Reduction of product and material variants (variety reduction) by concentrating on basic product functions
  • Design 4 Circularity (e.g. Design 4 Repair, "remanufacturing" and "recycling")
  • Quality categories of recycled materials (supported by appropriate testing procedures)
  • Minimize the use or complete replacement of toxic substances
  • Development of digital product passports with material and product information
  • Digital platforms on which information on materials, parts and products and their availability is stored

As a general principle, the development of standards should avoid defining requirements in a way that restricts or hinders meaningful R-Strategies in later phases of the product life cycle. By integrating Circular Economy principles into operational business models and management systems and systematically applying standards with indicators, assessment methods and technical procedures that support the circular economy, standards can help to gradually initiate a transformation of business processes and networks of cooperating companies towards a higher degree of circularity.

Research into circular economy standards according to R-strategies

As part of the development of the Standardization Roadmap on Circular Economy, DIN, DKE and VDI carried out a comprehensive research of existing standards in order to analyse the current status of the standardization landscape in relation to the circular economy. The aim was to provide experts from the circular economy sector with a practical and thematically sorted selection of relevant standards. A total of 280 sets of rules with over 700,000 current references were examined, resulting in the most comprehensive standards database in the world.

The standards identified in the course of the standards research in connection with the circular economy were clustered thematically according to the each single R-Strategy in the following interactive visualization.

Source of the illustration: 9R-Framework of UNEP [United Nations Environment Programme (2019), www.unenvironment.org/circularity abgerufen am 27.09.2022, basierend auf Potting et al. (2017, p. 5) Circular.pdf ] (based on Potting et al. (2017) [Denise Reike, Walter J.V. Vermeulen, Sjors Witjes (2017), The circular economy: New or Refurbished as CE 3.0? – Exploring Controversies in the Conceptualization of the Circular Economy through a Focus on History and Resource Value Retention Options,Resources, Conservation and Recycling, Volume 135, 2018 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0921344917302756?via%3Dihub])