Social Innovation and the circular economy

14. Okt 2021

ZSI organises a webinar on social innovation, circular economy and the urban-rural divide on Thursday, 21.10.2012, 3pm.

In its efforts of reaching out to rural change-makers in Central Europe the CERUSI Partnership set up a series of three webinars (online courses) dedicated to the topic of the “Borders of Rural Social Innovation”. In the third webinar we focus on social innovation, its role in the transition towards a circular economy and the specific rural situation in this process.

When looking at the manifold (economic, social and environmental) challenges marginalised rural areas in Central Europe are facing, it becomes clear that the linear economy with its „take“, „make“ and „dispose“ approach is poorly positioned to handle these problems. The concept of circular economy offers a more holistic approach to regional development that is based on the principles of “Reduce, Reuse, Restore and Recycle”. However, the specific rural situation is often not taken into account appropriately when talking about the transition towards a circular economy.

Social innovations have the potential to turn the linear economic model on its head, by designing, testing and implementing alternative sustainable and resilient (business model) development strategies that can catalyse the transition towards a circular economy, especially in a rural context.

With our third webinar, we take a closer look on the different facets of circular economy and how socially innovative practices contribute to its realisation. Acknowledging the urban-rural disparities we want to understand what circular economy means in different contexts, how we can support it and how social innovations play a role in their implementation.

Therefore, ZSI-Expert Stefanie Konzett-Smoliner will introduce the concept of social innovation and elaborate on its meaning in a transition towards a circular economy. Furthermore, Wolfgang Haider, coordinator of the CERUSI project will highlight some examples of how circularity transitions come about. Finally, Harald Wieser from the Austrian Institute for SME Research will focus on the often underexposed role of rural regions in a circular transition.

Registration is possible here.



Introduction & words of welcome

By Wolfgang Haider, ZSI


Changing practices – Circular economy and the role of social innovation

By Stefanie Konzett-Smoliner and Wolfgang Haider, ZSI


Changing practices – A dive into socially innovative circular economy projects

Short pitch presentation of selected case studies


Including rural regions in the transition to a Circular economy

By Harald Wieser, Austrian Institute for SME Research






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