Circular and sharing economy: possibilities for integration into the labour market for disabled job-seekers

From 30 January to 1 February 2020 took place in Eindhoven / The Netherlands a seminar about “Circular and sharing economy: possibilities for integration into the labour market for disabled job-seekers”, organized by EPSIN (European Platform for Social Integration), with the support of EZA and of the European Union.

Bruno Machiels, secretary of EPSIN and administrator in non-profit organisations, opens the seminar and welcomes all participants. He stresses the special objectives of this meeting: We have to delve deeper into the new economic developments of circular and partial economy that are gaining a large and rapid expansion in Europe. Then we have to focus on the opportunities for new job creation. Therefore, we need an analysis of the current and future jobs that will be needed with a special focus on jobs for job seekers with a disability. Having done so we can give incentives to existing and new initiatives to exploit these new developments and learn from each other opportunities and limits.

Introduction to the seminar them

Circular economy is a very important topic for the European Union and strongly related to the domains of ecological and social policy.

Herman van Rompuy, former president of the European Council, spoke in 2019 in Oisterwijk (NL) on the chances that social market economy provides for the combination of freedom with social cohesion. Market economy is corrected by social cohesion and ecological developments. This also means that responsibility and solidarity can face populism and the fear of citizens not to be protected.

The 17 UN goals for sustainability can only be reached when nr 17 is practized: co-operation between governments, enterprises and NGO’s. This requires moral leadership and pioneership.

Enterprises should show ethical behaviour and integrity but also allow the workers to act ethically. You should be a moral leader for the chain in which your company operates or for the sector as a whole. Being a pioneer is setting good examples and clear goals.

Trends and statements:

-Circular economy is hesitating to take off.

-Reshoring creates chances for new employment in Europe.

-We do need more qualified people.

-Jobs will change, we must be aware of it in our education and permanent education.

-There are new job opportunities in repair end refurbishment (manual labour) and organizing new business in all forms (service economy).

-The strong interdependency of circular economy with the Fourth Industrial Revolution (automation), makes predictions difficult.

-Circular economy is a precondition for further economic growth and welfare.


-The switch to a circular economy is a precondition for further economic growth and societal welfare.

-The circular economy transition interacts closely with other transitions which together create a system- or paradigm shift.

-Circular economy is an important economic principle but not a complete economic system yet.

-Business cases in circular economy are mainly created between organisations.

-Circular economy has to overcome many hurdles to come to flourish: formation of ecosystems is essential for the take off of the circular economy, supported by government, legislation and institutions.

-Nature gives us great examples of circular organisation.

-New chances for job creation in Europe can be offered by reshoring.

-Job opportunities can be provided both in manual labour as in service economy.

-Perhaps we should come to a new definition of economy: “The way we attribute (multiple) value to the products/resources that nature provides and the way we redistribute them”.

-Circular economy is a principle, not a full system. If you want to integrate it into social market economy, you will have to make rules to create a level playing field. This means a European approach.

-The transition to a circular economy is creating.

-Many of those jobs will fit for low-skilled employees.

-Many new, circular activities offer opportunities for vulnerable people and social economy.

-Social economy needs to claim its position pro-actively in the circular economy.