In order to successfully transition to the circular economy, it’s important to not only look at raw material savings. Solutions also have to be safe from the perspective of the environment and public health as well as financially feasible.

Risk assessment traditionally focuses on the direct effects: is a product safe to use and what consequences does it have for health? Over the years, RIVMRijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu has added sustainability analyses at the product level to such assessments.

However, changes to production processes also have effects at the regional or national level, for example on the landscape and job market. RIVM utilises socio-economic analytical methods to analyse sustainability at the national level. In doing so, we regularly collaborate with partner institutes. This is one way that RIVM works on the introduction of socially responsible sustainable solutions.

We are taking new steps in this direction with our sustainability analyses. Government bodies ask us to provide insight into how changes to production processes contribute to the national and regional targets for reducing CO2carbon dioxide emissions and raw materials consumption.