The strategic framework of the circular economy for Austria

As many other countries, Austria faces the challenge of dealing with limited natural resources in a sustainable way. The Austrian circular economy strategy is based on existing national and international strategies and initiatives.

United Nations: Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

With the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), or #GlobalGoals for short, adopted in 2015, the international community aims to eradicate poverty, promote gender equality, improve healthcare, and combat climate change by the end of 2030. The concept of the circular economy supports the SDGs in general and the implementation of the following SDGs in particular:

  • SDG 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
  • SDG 13: Climate action: Take action to combat climate change and its impacts

Europe: EU Action Plan for the Circular Economy (No.1)

A first action plan for the circular economy was adopted in 2015. This resulted in 54 measures to build a circular economy. These measures focused on areas such as production, consumption, waste management and food waste.

Europe: The Green Deal

The European Green Deal is a political project of the European Commission that was adopted in 2019. Its most important goals are:

  • Climate neutrality by 2050 as well as environmental and climate protection.
  • Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 55% compared to 1990 ("Fit for 55").
  • 1.8 trillion euros for sustainable investment in energy- and resource-efficient and climate-friendly measures.

Europe: EU action plan for the circular economy (No. 2)

The second EU Circular Economy Action Plan was adopted in 2020 as part of the European Green Deal. It aims to go beyond waste management and start at the beginning of the production chain, with the design of products. This should enable longevity, reparability, upgrade options and, ultimately, the recycling of raw materials.

RTI Strategy 2030 - the federal government's strategy for research, technology, and innovation

The objectives of the RTI Strategy 2030, which was adopted in 2018, are to:

  1. catch up with the international leaders and strengthen Austria as an RTI location;
  2. focus on results-oriented output and excellence; and
  3. focus on knowledge, talent and skills.

Bioeconomy - a strategy for Austria

The Austrian bioeconomy strategy was adopted by the Council of Ministers in 2019. It is an essential cornerstone of the climate and energy strategy, it supports the decarbonization of the economic system and makes a significant contribution towards resource conservation.

Austria: Government program 2020-2024

The current government program provides for the adoption of a cross-sectoral climate and circular economy strategy for industry ("Climate Protection & Energy"), the promotion of the circular economy through a legal framework ("Environment & Nature Conservation") and the promotion of socio-economic enterprises with a circular economy ("Work").

The Austrian circular economy strategy

In cooperation with the BMSGPK, BMAW and BML, the BMK has developed a national circular economy strategy, which was adopted by the Council of Ministers on December 7, 2022.

Circular economy task force

In fall 2023, the Ministry of Climate Protection and the Ministry of Economic Affairs established a cross-ministerial advisory board for the first time, based on the Austrian Federal Ministries Act §8. This task force consists of stakeholders from science, administration, business, politics and civil society who are tasked with supporting the implementation of the Austrian circular economy strategy and the bioeconomy strategy.

Industry transformation

The federal government's climate and transformation initiative aims to support Austrian industrial companies in making their production processes climate neutral. On the one hand this strengthens value creation in Austria while on the other it leads to greater independence from fossil fuel imports. Funding totaling around 5.7 billion euros is available until 2030.

AI strategy

In order to realize the opportunities of AI for Austria and minimize the potential risks, the Austrian federal government has developed an AI strategy entitled Artificial Intelligence Mission Austria 2030 (AIM AT 2030). The focus is on pursuing the following three goals:

  1. The aim is to achieve a broad use of AI that is oriented towards the common good and is carried out responsibly on the basis of fundamental human rights and fundamental European values.
  2. Austria should position itself as a research and innovation location for AI in areas of strength; and
  3. the competitiveness of Austria as a technology and business location should be secured through the development and use of AI.