Circle Lab for Cities

Enabling circular economy solutions for every city

About Circle Lab for Cities

The Circle Lab for Cities program supports cities worldwide to take the next step in their circular journey through a framework and digital tools that support circular development planning and implementation at the local level.

Through the Circle Lab for Cities program, cities can learn about the circular economy and what it can do for their city, explore their city’s data to identify and match their climate challenges with the right circular solution, and act to advance their transition to a circular economy in priority sectors.

The program is funded by the MAVA Foundation and implemented by Circle Economy, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, Metabolic, and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

“With this program, we are launching a digital platform for cities that offers knowledge, actionable insights and tools to support the implementation of practical circular economy solutions, helping them achieve their sustainability goals. This digital platform will continuously evolve and offer updated content and new features as more cities engage with it. We welcome user feedback so we can continuously develop content and release features based on cities’ specific needs.”

– Ivonne Bojoh, Head of Digital, Circle Economy

The Circle Lab for Cities program aims to provide each city with the right instruments to take the next step in their circular development journey. As a global network, we aim to develop tools with local governments, to ensure that they address practical needs and are adaptable to different local contexts. This is why we will be testing all tools with network cities from 5 world regions.

– Sunandan Tiwari, Director of Global Implementation, ICLEI

More about the program

  • Why engage with the Circle Lab for Cities program?

    For cities, a circular economy offers great benefits, ranging from reduced greenhouse gas emissions, lower waste management costs, to new livelihood opportunities and local value creation.
    Yet planning for the circular economy at the local level is a complex process, bringing together different sectors and addressing impacts beyond jurisdictions and city departments. As a local government, it can be difficult to know how to apply circular economy principles to different value chains, beyond waste management. The lack of material and waste data available makes it difficult for cities to set a baseline to prioritize action and monitor progress.
    As a result, developing a strategy or policies around city-wide circular economy solutions often requires consultants or substantial city staff capacity, which outprices a lot of cities.
    The Circle Lab for Cities program offers a hands-on, cost-effective process for local governments and stakeholders to boost their efforts toward a circular economy. The program tools are co-created by consortium partners to provide value to local governments along their circular economy journey. The tools are being tested by local governments across five world regions to ensure they address practical needs and are adaptable to different local contexts.

    These tools will provide users with:

      • A framework to understand how the circular economy translates at the local level based on best practices from cities worldwide
      • A platform providing every city with the necessary data insights, knowledge and tools to begin their circular transition.
      • Guidance in identifying circular economy interventions relevant to their jurisdiction
      • Access to a platform to facilitate city-business collaboration on selected interventions

  • Who is the Circle Lab for Cities program for?

    The Circle Lab for Cities program is designed to bring circular economy tools to local governments.

    If you work for or with a city government, the Circle Lab for Cities program will help you understand and identify the next step towards a circular economy for your city.

    If you work for or with a city government and want to activate the potential of this ecosystem, the Circle Lab for Cities helps to communicate targets to changemakers and simultaneously enable them to showcase their contribution.

  • What is unique about the Circle Lab for Cities program?

    The Circle Lab for Cities program brings you a unique combination of cutting edge tools and expertise from the world’s leading circular economy organizations. Each partner organization brings years of experience supporting cities on the path to circular development.
    Through the Circle Lab for Cities program, cities can learn from the experience of a diverse network of local and regional governments, all working towards the same goal but in different local contexts. This diversity can inspire innovative and tailored circular solutions for cities at all stages of their circular development journey.
    All Circle Lab for Cities program tools will be tested by local governments across five world regions to ensure they address practical needs and are adaptable to different local contexts.
    As the leading experts on circular development at the local level, the Circle Lab for Cities program partners speak the language of city practitioners and can help find the right circular solution for every challenge.

Participating cities



Baguio City is confronted with a new economic reality, one in which resource constraints and increasing impacts of climate change and natural disasters are influencing growth. Convergent economic and environmental challenges have had dramatic impacts on the community, hampering the City’s continued progress. The city will need to be more responsive to rising demand for food, housing, electricity, and water, as well as adopt strategies to mitigate the impact of adverse events.

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Ann Arbor

United States

Ann Arbor’s goal is to achieve city-wide carbon neutrality by 2030. To achieve this, the entire community must eliminate 2.1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions annually – this is the quantity of greenhouse gas emissions they emitted, as an entire community, in 2018. Although the City recognizes the importance of upstream and embedded emissions, this figure does not include emissions associated with the production of the goods and services Ann Arborites use. Vital to reaching this goal is the centering of traditionally under-served populations, i.e. the city cannot obtain these goals unless they are obtained for all residents.

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Bogor City has the vision to design a family-friendly city by creating a healthy, smart, and prosperous community by 2024. One of its goals is to realize a healthy community with a good quality environment. In 2024, Bogor City aims to reduce its emission by 7.98%, improve its air quality index by 86.3 points and water quality index by 50 points, and reduce waste by 7.2%, as a part of achieving zero carbon by 2050. The city also would like to develop a circular economy concept through collaboration with the community, business actors, and academics.

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United States

Glass and steel corporate headquarters blend with tree-shrouded residential neighborhoods that climb into the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountain range. This is the backdrop for living, working and playing in Cupertino, California. The city’s renown as a center of innovation in Silicon Valley far surpasses its moderate size of approximately 60,000 residents. Around the world, Cupertino is famous as the home of high-tech giant Apple Inc. In the San Francisco Bay Area, Cupertino is known as one of the founding cities of Silicon Valley and as a city with excellent public schools. Quality schools and closeness to technology jobs make Cupertino a desirable address for a highly educated and culturally diverse population. Rich in opportunity, culture and sunshine, Cupertino is a progressive and diverse hometown in Silicon Valley for residents, businesses and visitors.

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The Philippines is considered one of the extremely vulnerable countries to climate change with its associated disaster and climate risks. Having a medium combined risk of climate disasters, Quezon City intends to maximize synergies between climate mitigation and adaptation actions. Demonstrating rapid urban growth, Quezon City endeavors to move towards a carbon-neutral and climate-resilient development pathway, striving to promote sustainable solutions in addressing development pressures and creating healthier, greener spaces for its citizens. While climate change is a universal and far-reaching global issue that affects all nations, some sectors and communities are more gravely impacted due to their economic standing, gender, income, and age, among other various socioeconomic factors. As climate change is tied up to all facets of development, it can also widen the gap of existing social inequalities.

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Balikpapan is a seaport city in East Kalimantan, Indonesia. Located on the east coast of the island of Borneo, the city is the financial center of Kalimantan.  Balikpapan is one of the city with the largest economy in Kalimantan. With a population of 688,318 according to the 2020 census, Balikpapan is the second most populous city in East Kalimantan, after Samarinda. Balikpapan has been consistently ranked as one of the most liveable cities in Indonesia. The city of Balikpapan faces sustainability challenges like increasing GHG emissions, waste management, water pollution, flooding, and land-use changes. In 2018, stationary energy contributed to more than half of the total emissions (82%). The remaining emissions were shared by transportation (13%), waste (5%), and AFOLU (0.2%).

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United States

As the Colorado state capital and the largest city within 500 miles, Denver has an obligation to lead on climate. Denver occupies an influential position in the Mountain West, a fast-growing region characterized by the breathtaking natural beauty of the Rocky Mountains and wide-open plains. The City itself has a population of over 700,000; however, the population of the larger Denver metro area exceeds 3 million. As the largest city in the state of Colorado and the second largest in the Mountain West region, Denver is a lively cultural and commercial hub for surrounding suburban areas and rural communities.
The Denver metro area has experienced rapid population growth in the past decades that has outpaced the US national average. While the city is known for attracting young, post-college professionals, it has a diverse demographic profile that reflects the region’s rich cultural history as a trade and transportation nexus, a mining and agricultural hub, a central location for federal offices, and a major immigration route from the South.

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