Press Release

EU invests 3.7 million Euro to support Green and Circular Economy in Lebanon through a project implemented by UNIDO

23 June 2023

  • Beirut, 22 June 2023 -- The European Union (EU) has allocated 3.7 million euros to fund 2CIRCULAR, a project implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in partnership with the Ministries of Industry, Economy & Trade, Environment, and Finance and in cooperation with the Association of the Lebanese Industrialists (ALI) and the Federation of the Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (FCCIAL).


On June 22, 2023, UNIDO presented the 2CIRCULAR roadmap to EU representatives, UN agencies, ministries representatives, and various stakeholders from the food and beverage sector. In addition, representatives from national and international financing institutions, development organizations, service and technology providers, and academia were present.

The “2CIRCULAR Action” Event, was held from 10:00 am to 13:30 pm at the Movenpick hotel. Several presentations, a Q&A session on eligibility criteria for businesses to access support, and the opportunity for securing additional funding for circular and green production were heard by the diversity of stakeholders and targeted beneficiaries. In total, the 2CIRCULAR project aims to partner with over 50 food and beverage companies to create momentum for green and circular production in Lebanon. As part of the project intervention, a total of EUR 280,000 will be awarded as in-kind grants of 15k and 40k to 10 companies who can demonstrate their ability to become resource efficient and Circular Economy champions in Lebanon.

The project, 2CIRCULAR, builds on the successful experiences of 15 Lebanese companies already supported by UNIDO under the EU-funded MED TEST program thus advancing investment into resource efficiency and cleaner production techniques as a cost cutting measure. Focusing on the food and beverage industry, 2Circular will go a step further and support the development of 5 innovative circular business models and facilitate access to finance for Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

The proven UNIDO methodology will enable partner companies to achieve significant cost savings, higher competitiveness, reduced environmental footprints, and improved access to international markets. Investments in low-risk, short-term innovation, particularly for cutting costs, is considered a key for countries to emerge from economic downturns.

Lebanon also faces significant environmental challenges, including air and water pollution, and waste management issues. The project seeks to address these challenges by supporting the adoption of sustainable business practices and encouraging circular models that prioritize cutting costs and environmental footprint resource efficiency and waste reduction.

The project is expected to have a significant impact on Lebanon's economy, generating new jobs and increasing competitiveness in the global market. It will also contribute positively to the environment by reducing waste and pollution and promoting the use of renewable and green energy sources.

Caption: Mr. Emmanuel KALENZI, UNIDO Regional Representative

"2 Circular project builds on the successful experiences in industrial resource efficiency piloted by UNIDO in the region through the EU funded MED TEST projects. Through MED TEST, UNIDO has supported 164 industrial enterprises, which have jointly achieved economic savings of 49.5 million EUR per year through investments with average payback-period of less than 1.5 years. Beneficiary companies reduced on average 30% of their energy 27% of water and 8% in materials consumption; this generated a reduction of 217.000 tons/year of CO2 emissions and 24.000 tons/year of solid waste.  2Circular upscales such successes by targeting 50 Lebanese industrial enterprises including start-ups of viable circular business models, to pursue a path of green growth and enabling carbon trade in the long run”.

Mr. Emmanuel KALENZI, UNIDO Regional Representative

Caption: Mrs. Alessandra Viezzer, EU Head of Cooperation.

"The European Union remains committed to promoting an enabling environment for private sector development, including business support services, investment, and innovation, spurring entrepreneurship, and encouraging SMEs to grow and believes the private sector is - and will continue to be - a pivotal contributor to the economic recovery of Lebanon."

Mrs. Alessandra Viezzer, EU Head of Cooperation

Caption: H.E. Mr. George Bouchikian, Minister of Industry.

"The 2Circular project is at the heart of the priorities of the Ministry of Industry as it supports sustainable industrial development and strengthens the competitiveness and resilience of a key industrial sector by upscaling the adoption of resource efficient and cleaner production practices in industrial companies, fostering the transition of industry to circular business models in Lebanon.”

H.E. Mr. George Bouchikian, Minister of Industry

Caption: H.E. Mr. Amin Salam, Minister of Economy and Trade

“Nowadays, redesigning human systems for the good of the future generation has become a must. We can translate this by adopting circular practices with the aim of durability, reuse, remanufacturing, and recycling; such policies have become prerequisites to maintaining alignment with the new international rules governing the trading system. Thus, we believe that "The Private Sector Transition to a Green and Circular Economy" will play a vital role in applying the objectives of the circular economy in terms of sustainable and inclusive trade and development, which will help resource efficiency, job creation, innovation, and collaboration. In a nutshell, looping Lebanese SMEs (F&B sector) into the circular economy could help them mitigate supply chain disruption, lower costs, and open up new markets.”

H.E. Mr. Amin Salam, Minister of Economy and Trade

Caption: Hala Mounajjed, Representing HE Minister of Environment, Mr. Nasser Yassin.

“Despite the challenges our country is currently confronting, the project addresses vital aspects such as the sustainable utilization of resources, energy efficiency, and the development of technical capabilities. Furthermore, it represents a notable achievement in the ongoing partnership between the ministry and UNIDO, aimed at reducing environmental impacts and fostering a green economy”.

H.E. Mr. Nasser Yassin, Minister of Environment

Caption: Representative of Minister of Finance

“Today we are at a new dawn in terms of shaping new economic prospects for Lebanon, and the circular economy business model should be at the heart of it. In fact, we should view the crisis as an opportunity to turn things around from common mainstream practices. Although progress towards recovery after the severe and prolonged economic crisis is very slow, still the vibrant private sector in Lebanon is taking the lead in the country’s revival. As such, building the right infrastructure in terms of zero waste, reduced carbon footprints, and optimized resources efficiency is key for a sustainable economic recovery”.

H.E. Mr. Youssef El Khalil, Minister of Finance

Caption: Dr. Nabil Fahed, Federation of the Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture of Lebanon

“By operating in a resource-efficient manner using renewables, they reduce their costs, reduce the impact of price fluctuations of production factors and hence, gain competitive advantages and increase their profits.”

Dr. Nabil Fahed, Federation of the Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture of Lebanon

Caption: Mr. Ibrahim Mallah, Association of Lebanese Industrialists

 “2Circular project is a great reflection of ALI’s vision & mission.”

Mr. Ibrahim Mallah, Association of Lebanese Industrialists


The project will be implemented until the end of 2025 and will undergo close monitoring and evaluation to ensure its objectives are met. For more information, follow the UNIDO Lebanon’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, and UNIDO YouTube Channel.


For more information, please contact the 2Circular Project Manager:

Natalie Degger, UNIDO



Project Title: Transition to a Green and Circular Economy in Lebanon (2CIRCULAR)

Funding Agency: European Union (EU)

Implementing Agency: United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)

Country: Lebanon

Budget: 3.7 million EUR

Duration: 2022 -2025

UN entities involved in this initiative

United Nations Industrial Development Organization

Other entities involved in this initiative

European Commission

Goals we are supporting through this initiative