Accompanying research for the National Circular Economy Strategy

Scientific support and monitoring of the National Circular Economy Strategy (Nationale Kreislaufwirtschaftsstrategie, NKWS)

Germany requires large quantities of raw materials. In 2021, the primary raw material consumption per person was 15.3 tonnes of raw material equivalents [1]. This puts Germany's per capita demand for raw materials well above the international average. High demand for new investments, for example for housing or renewable energies, can also be expected in the future. Germany therefore has a responsibility to reduce its consumption of primary raw materials. [2]

However, many raw material flows in the German economy are still organised linearly in many areas. Secondary raw materials only account for around 13 per cent of total raw material consumption[3]. The German government is therefore striving for a transformation towards a circular economy. Circular value creation focusses on an absolute reduction in the demand for raw materials.

The aim and task of the project is to provide scientific support for the process of developing and updating a national circular economy strategy for a resource-saving, sustainable circular economy and to enrich it with contributions to the discussion and further input. Proposals are developed for a meaningful framework for the strategy, concrete targets for reducing primary raw material consumption and closing material cycles, as well as for a consistent system of targets and indicators and an effective package of instruments and measures.

ifeu is part of a large research consortium and is responsible in particular for the fields of buildings and building materials as well as biotic raw materials. In addition, ifeu updates material flow models on the use of metallic and biotic secondary raw materials in Germany and calculates the greenhouse gas reduction associated with the use of secondary raw materials.

[1] UBA (2024): Indikator: Rohstoff-Fußabdruck, URL:

[2] BMUV (2023): Die Nationale Kreislaufwirtschaftsstrategie (NKWS), URL:

[3] Eurostat (2024): Nutzungsrate wiederverwendbarer Stoffe, URL:


February 2023 – May 2025




Wuppertal Institut



HafenCity Universität Hamburg (HCU)

Freie Universität Berlin (FU)

Sonderforschungsgruppe Institutionenanalyse – Prof. Dr. Anja Hentschel

Ökopol Institut für Ökologie und Politik GmbH

Ecologic Institut

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