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Circular Academy - online knowledge platform as support for green transformation

Circular Academy - online knowledge platform as support for green transformation

In collaboration with the degree programme Global Sales and Marketing at the Steyr Campus of the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria, the Cluster of Environmental Technologies Bavaria and the agency Business Upper Austria, the CENTOURIS Institute of the University of Passau is lending a hand to businesses as they navigate the green transformation induced by climate change towards sustainable, circular and profitable business. The three-year project "Circular Academy" is funded by the INTERREG programme Bavaria-Austria 2021-2027.

The rise in resource consumption, along with the increasing volumes of waste that such consumption produces, especially in the packaging industry, has become one of the major challenges our society faces today. Calls from the general public for sustainable packaging solutions, especially as an alternative to plastic packaging, are becoming louder. The two project regions Upper Austria and Bavaria are considered plastic production and processing hubs. Businesses will increasingly have to offer circular products, and even circular services, in order to hold their own in global competition.

"The circular economy is not just an industry trend. It represents the economic model of the future," underscores Alfred Mayr, managing director of the Cluster of Environmental Technologies Bavaria. "The Circular Academy will take the knowledge transfer for implementation of circular business models in Bavaria's economy to a new level. We look forward to some very close cross-border cooperation between businesses and researchers in this project. Networking these two worlds is what we consider to be our primary task in an effort to promote the competitiveness and innovation power of our companies."

Developing circular business models

Although lots of technical solutions and methods for the production of sustainable plastic packaging are already available, the business model innovations that are needed to bring them to market are still in their infancy. This is one of the reasons why technical solutions ultimately fail to fly and are not accepted by consumers and business partners. Pricing sustainable circular products correctly is one of the biggest challenges companies face but also an indispensable part for any successful market launch. The key issues are price acceptance and the trust end consumers have in the products and services.

Close cooperation with regional businesses

So far, little has been done to involve all the value network stakeholders in the development of sustainable, recyclable and profitable packaging solutions. "One of the project's objectives is to develop and implement innovative business models for a circular economy. To be as targeted and practice-driven as possible, we set about building a network of regional companies and experts and fostering exchange between academia and practice, also in discussion rounds and design thinking workshop, right from the start," explains Dr Stefan Mang, managing director of CENTOURIS at the University of Passau. All the project's results are published on the online knowledge platform, which serves as a meeting place for networking and exchange and is intended to encourage learning and continuing education processes.

The project is currently in the process of performing a technical and commercial diagnosis to define the relevant added value network of sustainable packaging solutions and survey the business models currently in place as well as their status quo in terms of sustainability.

Businesses are invited to actively take part in shaping the Circular Academy as the project proceeds. If you are interested, please write to for more information.

Principal Investigator(s) at the University Dr. Stefan Mang (Institut für Markt- und Wirtschaftsforschung)
Project period 01.01.2023 - 30.12.2025
Source of funding
EU - ESIF - EFRE - INTERREG Bayern-Österreich 2021-2027
EU - ESIF - EFRE - INTERREG Bayern-Österreich 2021-2027

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