France has the first ever standard for the circular economy!

Posted on 24 January 2019.

Developed by AFNOR and published in October 2018, the XP X30-901 standard is the first for the circular economy.

The standard also aims to facilitate constructive dialogue in France and redesign our current production and consumption patterns.

First arriving on the scene twenty years ago at the turn of the 2000s, the circular economy has boomed in recent years. And with France’s 2015 energy transition law, it has become a national ambition. The goal is to break with the current economic model based on the "produce, consume, discard" trio and adopt a new circular model where one person’s waste becomes a resource for someone else.
Circular economy initiatives are now appearing in all sectors. Food waste equals fine dining, duvets and pillows are recycled, and sewage sludge is converted into biogas…Sectors testing the circular economy are as numerous as the projects!
But how do we know whether an approach truly satisfies circular economy principles? In response, AFNOR - France’s standardization agency - has published the first standard covering the definition of the circular economy - the XP X30-901 standard.

A guide for the circular economy

Two years and the contribution of 50 environmental transition professionals (associations, industry, local authorities, etc.) were needed to develop this standard. The result? Precise specifications that can be applied to any type of initiative and structure. Standard XP X30-901 defines a method of organization, to which anyone from an individual to a major business can refer "in order to plan, implement, evaluate and improve a circular economy project", says AFNOR.
The agency has based the standard on the three sustainable development aspects (environment, economy, societal) and the seven circular economy pillars. It is a genuine user’s guide to becoming a circular economy player! And the icing on the cake is the possibility of applying for certification that will attest to the project’s circular credentials.

Expanding the circular economy

With this standard, AFNOR hopes to further publicize the circular economy remit to ensure that everyone is in a position to act at their own pace and in their own way for a more sustainable way of life. The aim is also to encourage the proliferation of initiatives, facilitate constructive dialogue in France and redesign our current production and consumption patterns.
The idea is also gaining ground on the international scene. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) ‒ responsible for harmonizing international economic standards - also announced it was beginning to work on establishing an international circular economy standard. The technical committee will base its work on the new AFNOR standard. France has been appointed leader and will drive this strategic issue forward!