Data as basis for a successful circular economy

Catena-X is developing a digital image of the circular economy in the automotive industry. Together with more than 2,000 partners, Catena-X aims to integrate all levels of the value chain by 2023 and make the circular economy more sustainable, durable and transparent.

Maximum use of resources

Climate policy and the scarcity of resources are forcing industries to rethink. The linear economy that has prevailed so far is no longer sufficient to comply with stringent EU regulations. In addition to the production, use and disposal of materials, the focus is on recycling and the circular economy.

The circular economy is also interesting from an economics point of view: By 2030, the European Commission expects an 0.5 percent increase in GDP and 700,000 new jobs. [1]

Due to the large number of producers and consumers, however, the implementation of the circular economy is challenging: Information on the individual lifecycles is mostly only available locally and therefore does not provide any meaningful assessment of reuse, recycling or remanufacturing.  

Philipp Leschinski therefore stresses that: “We will need coherent, real information on material, condition, functionality or even charging cycles in order to achieve a successful circular economy.  Only then can recyclers clearly sort out which components will still be suitable for further use.”

Sustainable and interactive

Catena-X is working with renowned companies to collect information relevant to the circular economy in a data ecosystem. To this end, a digital twin of each product is created — across all industries and throughout the entire value chain.

Cell manufacturers and chemical companies can participate, as can suppliers, car manufacturers, logistics companies and recycling centres. Through the common platform, Catena-X opens up data corridors for these firms that they can use to independently release and retrieve information. Every participant decides for itself who it provides which content to. The data is not stored though it is linked and remains the property of the creator.

According to Catena-X, this transparency is essential for a functioning and efficient circular economy. Because only if everybody who influences the circular economy is involved can they exploit its benefits.

Active participation by SMEs, too

For small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), better material and capacity availability means measurable cost savings. Digitisation also offers them the chance to position themselves more strongly as an integral part of the circular economy: By being part of the network, they actively influence other market participants, are able to address needs and specifically develop business and cooperation models.

Requirements for working on the Catena-X platform:
- The system offers open source interfaces.
- Users can easily connect their local systems via an adapter (plug & play).
- All the processes are guided, standardised, transparent and protected.
- Participants remain owners of their data (data sovereignty).
- The technology can also be used for other use cases (interoperability).

You, too, can benefit from our digitalised circular economy!

[1] European Commission: Impacts of circular economy policies on the labour market Final report, May 2018 – called up on 19.04.2022 

This is a work result of the

Catena-X Automotive Network Consortium Project,

supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action.

Funding code: 13IK004*



Philipp  Leschinski

Philipp Leschinski

Product Owner

Exchange with Catena-X