Research focus: transition to a circular economy, Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), governance and assessment of sustainable products, theoretical underpinning of sustainability
Walter Vermeulen is Associate Professor at the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development at Utrecht University. His research focuses on the governance of sustainable production and consumption systems. He lectures on business, sustainability and innovation; and innovative approaches to governance for sustainable development. He has also been active in the International Sustainable Development Research Society (ISDRS) as a past President.
Vermeulen works as an environmental scientist on widespread adoption of circular strategies. This is done through start-ups, financial and policy incentives, among other things. In his view, sustainable design should be a much more attractive option than it is now. Rewarding pioneers with financial incentives could make it more interesting to use more recycled materials in new products. If this were done at the European level, the demand for recycled products would increase and it would become less and less attractive to opt for primary raw materials. According to Vermeulen, governments can also discourage less circular options by tightening the rules. In doing so, his research and education contributes to scaling up innovative recycling technologies and processes that bring the circular transition closer.
One of the ways to encourage the development and promotion of sustainable products is to use the Oiconomy Pricing method, in which companies identify the hidden costs throughout the production chain.
Areas of interest:
De weg naar een Circulaire Economie (in Dutch)