Meet the Circular Coalition of Kosova

ICK joined forces with partners, donors, startups and professionals, to address Sustainability and Circular Economy challenges.

January, 2022 – Available data show that by 2050, the population on Earth will achieve approximately 9 billion people, and unless we find a way to decouple economic growth from the rate of consumption of natural resources, the economy will require about three times the resources we currently use. The consequences of this trend will impact increase of CO2 emissions and waste production and push us beyond the Earth’s regenerative capacity.

The situation is clear, the global socioeconomic and environmental challenges are present and the linear economic system cannot address all the needs. The Circular Economy model, is offered as a blueprint for an alternative future to the current linear economy of “make, use, dispose.”  But in order for this model to work, a continuous cycle of cooperation of all sectors is required, both public and private.

In Kosovo, the Innovation Centre Kosovo (ICK) has opened the doors for partners, donors, professionals, businesses, startups, projects, students, etc. to join one Circular Coalition, a new body that aims to address challenges of the future though innovative ideas. 

The first meeting of the Coalition was held on January 23, at ICK. Partners, donors, Startups, businesses, professionals, students, all joined at ICK shared their point of view on sustainability matters and how to better produce and address climate challenges.

“We have so many resources within our hub and we were thinking, how can we utilize this momentum, energy and resources and meet potentially once a month, have some coffee together, and discuss ideas? So very basic the concept is to meet, let’s say once a month, have some coffee and talk about opportunities, challenges and how can we share communities and resources, as well as what can we do for each other, ideas”, ICK Executive Director, Uranik Begu stated in the beginning of the meeting.

Begu added that this idea came out of many discussions with different Startups and project that were part of ICK programs.

In cooperation with the Global Environment Facility (‘GEF’), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is launching the Circular Economy Regional Initiative (“CERI”), aiming to support investments in private, public and municipal sectors which implement innovative resource efficient technologies, circular processes and adopt circular business models in the Western Balkan region. Leonora Kusari, who represented EBRD in Kosovo during last week’s Coalition meeting, stated that the aim is to provide support for projects that will be based on Circular Economy Practices.

“Every year we support through investments project that are based on the model of Circular Economy or Green based, so it would be good to filter some of them Startups that are based in these models and we could offer them partnership opportunities but also advices”, Mrs. Kusari added.

Kosovo in early stages of CE

During the first meeting of the Circular Coalition, different profiles of business in Kosovo presented their point of view and experience. Despite the fact that they were unanimously in favor of Circular Economy practices, and some of them even practice those, they also shared the concerned related to policies, infrastructure and lack of knowledge on Circular Economy in Kosovo.

Erik Zhubi, CEO of MAIA Company, started his company with the product called “Jason”, which is a AI based product that divided waste based on their materials, basically plastic and aluminum and paper from glass.

“The product basically can be placed anywhere in spaces with crowded people, in companies with more workers or even in city squares. And people throw away their waste, while the machine divides the product itself according to the material”, Erik Zhubi explained.

Despite initiative like MAIA’s, the data show that the majority of the population on Kosovo, have never heard of Circular Economy, or its practices. Data from a 2019 report, titled “Circular Economy in Kosovo – Perceptions and knowledge of circular economy among Kosovars”, with author Annea Hapciu, show that more than 70% of 462 survey respondents had never discussed or remember deliberating on circular economy at school/university; 36% of respondents had never heard of any of the concepts that contribute to the creation of a circular economy, and only 1.3% had heard of all.

Therefore, an in-depth discussion on Circular Economy practices, is needed and could contribute to raise awareness.

During last week’s meeting 20 members of the Coalition such us: EBRD, UNDP Kosovo, GoBeyond, Kosovo Glass Recycling, MAIA, LooP SMC, Women in Data Kosovo, NNP PROART, Amel Chocolate, Nature, Hybryd Agro, Climate Awareness Association participated and gave their perspective on the matter.

The meetings of the coalition will continue once a month, while 10 workshops on Circular Economy and Sustainability matters will be organized from ICK.
In other words, all hands will be shaken, and forces joined, in order to increase social responsibility towards environmental, sustainability and climate challenges.

Written by Leonora Aliu (ICK).