Circular Economy and SCP

MedWaves ensures and enhances sustainable business models in the Mediterranean region by supporting a transformation towards circular economies and sustainable consumption and production (SCP).

There is an antidote to destructive production and consumption: circular economies. MedWaves supports the pursuit of sustainable consumption and production (SCP) as a way to transform traditional economic models into low-carbon, restorative circular business solutions. Climate change, loss of biodiversity and rising social inequities are all signals demanding the discovery of innovative sustainable approaches to business. These changes are not only possible, but needed at all levels.

What is a circular economy? 

The traditional “take-make-use-dispose” linear supply chain has proven to be short-sighted, dangerously depleting natural resources and stimulating injustices. A circular economy is the way towards a sustainable future: designing solutions that benefit the environment and make good business sense. Economic activity decoupled from the consumption of finite resource use opens a realm of possibilities for climate-neutral businesses that benefit the earth, people and business. The circular economic approach is based on three main principles:

  • Design out waste and pollution (shift towards durable, reparable and recyclable products; end with air, land and water pollution, etc.)
  • Keep products and materials in use (reduce resource consumption within planetary boundaries and increase material use rate, recover resources and keep them in use within circular and closed technical loops, etc.).
  • Regenerate natural system (use of renewable resources and energies, regenerative economic models which ensure the sustainability of ecosystem services and give back to the planet more than they take, etc.).

What is SCP?  

Over time, all things evolve. Traditional business models that valued efficiency and profit over all else must now consider the environment in order to succeed over time. SCP is one of the main global approaches adopted to revert the destructive impacts that the global economy has on the sustainability of natural ecosystems and societies The awareness that unsustainable patterns of consumption and production cause continued deterioration of the environment was brought to the global stage during the Rio Earth Summit in 1992. Leaders have worked together to ensure that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development contains the dedicated Goal 12 to SCP, breaking profit from environmental degradation. SCP aims at doing more and better with less, decoupling economic activity from environmental degradation, minimizing the use of natural resources as well as emissions and waste, while enhancing the quality of life. Systematically shifting the entire value chain, SCP engages all major stakeholders (see below) in order to ensure required changes from enabling policies, to sustainable production models, to sustainable lifestyles.

How do we move from aspiration to action? 

Circular economies and SCP are solutions that exist now and can be implemented today. MedWaves promotes eco-innovative sustainable business models as a way to address challenges with solutions that benefit the environment, society and the economy. The Switchers Support Programme has been developed specifically to implement these solutions at a regional level, ensuring and enhancing sustainable business models in the Mediterranean. The Switchers are businesses that provide “commercial solutions which create ecological value and/or safeguard the environment (addressing environmental challenges and/or reducing environmental impacts) and are economically viable and socially empowering” (UNEP/MAP Decision IG.25/18 – Annex II). The programme responds to the “Set of Regional Measures to Support the Development of Green and Circular Businesses” approved by the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention in December 2021 (Decision IG.25/18). 

Our Stakeholders

It is possible to face global challenges when we each do our part. SCP and circular economies demand active, empowered stakeholders requires a holistic approach and systemic change. The MedWaves Switchers Support Programme (SSP) targets a wide range of actors, including:


  • Entrepreneurs and Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs): Businesses can shift towards sustainable business models through applying eco-innovation and circular economic approaches. These business solutions transform ecological challenges into economic opportunities, reducing ecological impacts and increasing social value. 
  • Business Support Organizations (BSOs) and experts: These entities can play an important role to support entrepreneurs and companies through the provision of support services embedded with eco-innovation and eco-design approaches. 
  • Civil society and consumers: People have the power to vote for what they believe with their purchases. Empowered by awareness raising of sustainable lifestyle, civil society and consumers can utilise their purchasing power to demand for the change they want, driving the success of sustainable products and services. 
  • Academia and research institutions: These institutions seed knowledge, expanding the realm of possibilities that are needed to successfully deploy circular economies, SCP and sustainable business models. 
  • Financial Actors: Grants, credit and investment can enable solutions to exist, support innovation, and scale successes.  
  • Policy makers: Decision-makers are responsible for adopting and implementing regulatory mechanisms that promote sustainable business models and sustainable products and services. 
Key actions
The MedWaves SSP implements circular economies, SCP and sustainable business models in the region. This programme creates an enabling environment for the Switchers, or businesses, to be successful and sustainable by engaging all stakeholders including: entrepreneurs and businesses, BSOs, trainers and mentors, financial actors and policy makers.

MedWaves offers core support services, such as: 

  • Development and provision of sustainable business online tools and platforms: The Switchers Toolbox; 
  • Capacity development for BSOs, such as the Training of Trainers programmes on eco-innovation, eco-design and sustainable business development; 
  • Promotion of partnerships among BSOs and other stakeholders; 

  • Circular start-up incubation and acceleration programmes, including support services at ideation, early-stage and growth; 
  • Networking opportunities among sustainable businesses: The Switchers Community; 
  • Matchmaking between sustainable businesses and financial actors; 
  • Development of financial schemes for sustainable businesses: The Switchers Fund; 
  • Capacity building to support investments from financial institutions; 
  • Promotion of open eco-innovation initiatives at national and regional levels: The Switchers Open Eco-innovation Platform 
  • Access to markets for sustainable products and services: The Switchers Products; and 
  • Capacity building for policy makers and promotion of policy instruments. 

SSP responds to the “Set of Regional Measures to Support the Development of Green and Circular Businesses” that was approved by Contracting Parties during COP22 in December 2021 (Decision IG.25/18). Additionally, SSP offers support for other regional and global policies, such as: the EU Green Deal External Dimension; the New Agenda for the Mediterranean; the Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development; UNEP/MAP – Barcelona Convention Mid-Term Strategy; the UfM’s 2030 GreenerMed Agenda; and the 2030 Agenda and several of its SDGs.

SSP is more than a great idea, it has truly amplified success in the region since its creation in 2014, including: 

  • Engaging more than 100 BSOs in sustainable business development;  
  • Strengthening capacities of more than 400 experts and trainers in eco-innovation and eco-design;  
  • Supporting more than 3,200 SMEs to develop their sustainable business models (44% women); 
  • Contributing to the creation of over 300 sustainable businesses; and  
  • Engaging more than 100 financial actors, raising more than 2.6 million Euros for sustainable businesses.