CE.20.020 – Enabling circular economy for both business and government through data pipelines

Route: Circular economy

Cluster question: 053 What are the features of a circular economy and how can we achieve it?

In order to move to a truly circular economy it is essential to understand its features not only from a business but also from a government perspective. One key feature is gaining visibility all the way to the production process. This is key for businesses for the processes of reuse and recycling, as well as for government to be able to monitor the compliance.
In our global economy, many borders are crossed in the processes from production to reuse. Government organizations (such as customs) are responsible for controlling these flows. Revenue collection and safety and security are key concerns of customs today, but customs would play an important role related to sustainability and circularity in the future. To ensure sustainability compliance of trade flows customs would need visibility on the production process (through e.g. data on bills-of-materials, digital product passports, certificates, using (blockchain based) with Self Sovereign Identity (SSI) infrastructures).
In a series of innovation projects (ITAIDE, INTEGRITY, CASSANDRA, CORE, PROFILE and PEN-CP), the so-called data pipeline concept has been developed and piloted. The idea of the data pipeline is to create supply chain visibility in international trade flows all the way to the seller in the exporting country. By using business data from the source, customs can perform better risk assessment and facilitate trade. In this proposal we will further develop the data pipeline concept to extend visibility all the way to the production process applying innovative technology like blockchain and SSI. Such visibility would allow authorities to better control trade flows (including also trade flows for recycling) and would allow businesses that are involved in the reuse or recycling to better utilize the available resources. We focus in particular on linking data, IT infrastructures for secure data sharing such as blockchain, and the public-private governance of these infrastructures.


business, circular economy, customs, data pipeline, international trade, production, sustainability, visibility

Other organisations



Organisation Delft University of Technology (TUD)
Name Prof. dr. Y. (Yao-Hua) Tan
E-mail y.tan@tudelft.nl
Website www.tudelft.nl