On December 4, MEP Igor Šoltes will host a seminar on the inherent benefits of using public procurement to achieve sustainable development in the European Parliament.
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National Action Plan on Circular Economy
Greece's Governmental Economic Policy Council ensorsed a National Action Plan on Circular Economy in early 2018 to set the country on a path towards the long-term adoption of circular economy principles. This further supports Greece's economic strategy in its key quest to “Green” the economy in a way that creates jobs, especially for women and youth, and supports long-term equitable and inclusive growth based on resource efficiency, promotion of SMEs, innovation and investment in new technologies, and strengthening of the “social economy” potential. The long-term (2030) goals of the National Action Plan on Circular Economy can be summarised as follows:
- moving up the waste hierarchy by focusing on preventing waste and improving recycling
- supporting circular entrepreneurship by promoting “industrial symbiosis” and business clusters
- supporting circular consumption patterns of re-using, re-storing and re-pairing rather than buying new products, especially for electrical and electronic devices
- enhancing multi-stakeholder partnerships across industry, academia, and civil society
- monitoring progress towards a circular economic model through SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound) indicators.
Priority actions for 2018 include:
- lifting barriers to a circular economy through 10+ regulatory and legislative interventions, e.g. integrating circular economy considerations and criteria in the Environmental Impact Assessment and Strategic Impact Assessment requirements for sites and projects as well as in the environmental permitting process or elaborating new legal definitions for wastes, by-products and re-fuse materials after first use intended for re-use, declassification of waste and quality standards for secondary raw materials
- earmarking existing funds to implement the aforementioned interventions and fund demonstration projects
- further enhancing knowledge, understanding, education, awareness and communication
- improving governance structures by setting up an inter-ministerial Executive Secretariat for the Circular Economy to oversee implementation and related Observatory to monitor progress
Prior to this, Greece has already adopted a new Law on Recycling in November 2017 to fully align existing waste legislation with circular economy principles and taken effective measures to reduce the consumtion of single-use plastic bags with a ministerial decision in August 2017 that introduced merchant responsibility and set fees for consumers. With these measures and the actions set out in the National Circular Economy Action Plan, Greece aims to achieve the following by 2020:
- achieve a radical reduction of the per capita produced waste
- increase reuse and recycling of wastes, with a separate collection of recyclable waste and of bio-waste, to reach 50% of total municipal solid waste produced from a 25% where it stands today
- reach a 74% recovery and less than 30% disposal of total municipal solid waste produced from the current 82% disposal
- create around 15,900 new jobs and the increase of the annual turnover of the waste management related businesses.
On the 3rd of December 2018, the Italian Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform (ICESP) will hold its first annual conference. The platform's activities to date will be presented and its future development will be discussed.
100 Italian Circular Economy Stories
100 Italian circular economy stories compiles successful innovations from companies, research institutes and non-profits across 11 sectors throughout Italy. Their stories show the transition towards a circular economy is gaining traction on the ground as a sustainable alternative to the incumbent methods of production.
A circular economy will not happen through policy alone: it requires companies, start-ups, foundations, research centres, universities, consortia and associations to apply the principles of a circular economy to practice. This book features 100 such examples from Italy, including Aquafil's regenerated nylon yarn and Favini's non-virgin papers. The whole collection of stories ranges from across the following 11 sectors:
- Clothing and accessories
- Furniture / Construction
- Industrial automation and other Manufacturing
- Chemistry and Pharmaceutics
- Research & Development
- Electrics and Electronics
- New Materials and Resources
- Enablers and Platforms
- Promotion and Dissemination
These 100 stories clearly demonstrate that change is underway by showing how Italian products are brought to market using increasingly integrated technologies and supply chains which exchange materials and energy. The diffusion of such circular processes will enable more and more companies to free themselves from using costly virgin resources, gradually rendering the whole economy more sustainable.
For reference with the Italian circular economy strategy, please check the 2017 white paper "Towards a model of circular economy in Italy"
Kierratyskeskus is a growing chain of seven big box re-use stores, selling all possible furniture, household items and craft supplies in the Helsinki area.
The Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform annual conference will take place on 6 and 7 March 2019.
The SCREEN Final Conference was held in Rome on 18 and 19 October 2018, during the two-day Forum CompraVerde (BuyGreen), in order to present the results of the SCREEN project.
The Open Eyes Economy Summit is an international congress devoted to economy based on social values
The BioRegions Forum 2018 will take place in Barcelona on 13 November 2018.
Päijät-Häme roadmap towards a circular economy
A circular economy is a strategic priorirty for Finland's Päijät-Häme region, which is reflected in its RIS3 orientation and in Lahti's (the region's main city) development strategy. Whereas Finland's national framework for a circular economy provides an outlines for this transition, the Päijät-Häme regional roadmap, a joint strategy for nine municipalities, implemeents the national aims with actions at the regional level.
The roadmap was launched in October 2017 as part of Päijät-Häme's regional economic strategy for 2018–2021. The drafting process was coordinated by the Lahti University of Applied Sciences, in close cooperation with the regional council and local stakeholders such as regional and municipal authorities, academia, a regional development corporation, as well as public and private companies.
Päijät-Häme's roadmap has five main themes, with regional goals and actions set for each. The overarching themes are:
- Closed loops of technical streams to create added value
- Sustainable business from bio-circular economy
- Towards energy self-sufficiency by sustainable transport and energy solutions
- Shared economy generates new consumption models and business opportunities
- Piloting and demonstrating innovative circular economy solutions
Because input was sought from across the region through workshops and discussions, a stakeholder consultation and further informal contacts, the regional council created substantial enthusiasm and buy-in throughout the area, thus creating a foundation for successful implementation. The roadmap is a living document, with annual updates scheduled to identify new opportunities and involve new actors.
EIB Guide to Circular Economy
The EIB has already supported the transition to a circular economy with over €2.1 bn in project financing, including the first of a kind Aanekoski bio-pulp mill in Finland, the largest circular investment to date in Europe. An overview of such projects, alongside the bank's perception of the drivers to a circular economy (resource opportunities, technological development and the emerging socio-economic paradigm of sustainable development), corresponding opportunities and potential business models (circular design, value recovery, optimal use & circular support) is provided in this guide.
As the circular economy can actively contirbute to reducing carbon emissions and reaching wider environmental protection goals, the EIB is keen to finance projects contributing to this transition through a range of financing products, including EFSI and InnovFin for higher risk innovations. When doing so, it makes use of specific criteria to assess whether project are truly circular and attempts to categorise them within one of the aforementioned business models. During project assessment, further eligibility criteria are applied depending on the type of business model. These criteria, and more information about the bank's perception of circular economy strategies and project types, is provided in the guide's annexes.
Behavioural Study on Consumers’ Engagement in the Circular Economy
To obtain empirical policy-relevant insights to assist with the implementation of the EU Circular Economy Action Plan, the European Commission requested a behavourial study that aimed to:
- identify barriers and trade-offs faced by consumers when deciding whether to engage in the CE, in particular whether to purchase a more or a less durable good, whether to have a good repaired, or to discard it and buy a replacement;
- establish the relative importance of economic, social and psychological factors that govern the extent to which consumers engage in the CE, especially purchasing durable products and seeking to repair products instead of disposing of them; and
- propose policy tools to enable and encourage consumers to engage in CE practices related to durability and reparability.
The study focused on five products: vacuum cleaners, televisions, dishwashers, smartphones and clothes. The methodology encompasses a systematic literature review, 50 stakeholder interviews, consumer focus groups, an online consumer survey with 12,064 participants, and a behavourial experiment with 6,042 participants. Whereas the survey collected information on consumers' perception of and experiences with circular practices, the financially incentivised experiments included a repairing and purchasing task.
Findings include a general willingness to engage but little practical action to date. Consumers appear to be hampered by insufficiently developed markets for repair, reuse and refurbish in addition to a lack of information regarding product durability and repairability. Such information appeared seminal in shifting purchasing decisions towards sustainable products in the behavourial experiment, highlighting great potential to bridge the gap between theoretical and practical engagement. This experiment also uncovered substantial consistency between a self-reported circular mindset and corresponding behaviour.
As product size and price increases, consumers also appear to have greater interest in repairability and durability. Whereas repairability is linked to spare parts, durability appears to follow from perceived product quality. Overall this study concludes that the price-quality ratio, followed by convenience, is the most important driver and simultaneously barrier for consumer engagement in the circular economy. Building on these finidngs, the study makes 5 recommendations for policy action to enhance consumer engagement in the circular economy:
- boost CE engagement by increasing awareness of the circular economy;
- make repairing products easier;
- create financial incentives for repairability and durability;
- make information on durability and repairability available at point of sale;
- strengthen legislation requiring the provision of accurate information to consumers.
The Consumer Insights into the Circular Economy event took place on 25 October 2018 in Brussels.
The Be Circular Annual Meeting took place on 24 October 2018
The World Circular Economy Forum 2018 took place in Yokohama, Japan, from 22 to 24 October. ECESP was represented by Ladeja Godina Košir, coordination group member for Circular Change.
The updated bioeconomy strategy for Europe was launched on Monday 22 October as part of an event held under the Austrian Presidency.
The second meeting of the European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform Coordination Group took place on 18 and 19 October 2018.
The EIB Copenhagen Conference on the Circular Economy took place on 25 October 2018 to discuss financing the circular economy in biotechnology, urban development and plastics.
The Symbola Foundation, Enel & CSR Europe are organising a conference on “100 Italian Circular Economy Stories” on November 15 in Brussels.
World Food Day is a day of action dedicated to tackling global hunger.
SwitchMed Connect is a gathering of Mediterranean stakeholders to build synergies, exchange knowledge, and scale up eco and social innovations. Leading start-ups and entrepreneurs, industry agents, initiatives, change agents, policy and financial institutions working on applications of productive, circular and sharing economies in the Mediterranean will come together in Barcelona.
Official launch of the GrandParisCirculaire.org platform on 5 October 2018.
Panel discussions around tools and methodologies to assess the impact of marine litter and to address the issue of circular economy and sustainable tourism in islands.
EU guidelines facilitate the feed use of certain food no longer intended for human consumption
The EU Guidelines for the feed use of food no longer intended for human consumption are an integral part of the communication Closing the loop - An EU action plan for the Circular Economy.
They were developed by the Commission in close cooperation with the food, feed, animal health and environmental authorities of the Member States and the members of the EU Platform on Food Losses and Food Waste, as well as other stakeholders.
The valorisation of the nutrients of food which, for commercial reasons or owing to problems of manufacturing, is no longer intended for human consumption, but can be safely used in animal nutrition, prevents these materials from being composted, transformed in biogas or disposed of by incineration or landfilling.
Available in all EU languages by following the Official Journal link, these guidelines should assist the national and local competent authorities, as well as the operators in the food chain, in applying the relevant EU legislation. Legal clarity is therefore enhanced and examples of best practices that are in compliance with the current EU regulatory framework are presented while preventing unnecessary administrative burden.
The first Slovenian Circular Economy Roadmap paves the way towards a circular economy in Slovenia.
Market study on date marking and other information provided on food labels and food waste prevention
Market study on date marking and other information provided on food labels and food waste prevention
As part of the Circular Economy Action Plan, the Commission is examining ways to improve the use of date marking by actors in the food chain and its understanding by consumers, in particular "best before" labelling. Better understanding and use of date marking on food, i.e. "use by" and "best before" dates, by all actors concerned, can prevent and reduce food waste in the EU.
In order to help inform its work on date marking, the Commission launched a study to map how date marking is used in the market by food business operators and control authorities.
The market study found wide variation in date marking practices within product categories surveyed in the EU. The legibility of date marks was judged to be poor for 11% of products sampled. The study highlights the role that strengthened cooperation and innovation in the food supply chain can play in preventing food waste and finds that additional guidance may be needed to facilitate food redistribution past the "best before" date.
Based on the study's findings, the authors conclude that avoidable food waste linked to date marking is likely to be reduced where:
- a date mark is present, its meaning is clear and it is legible;
- consumers have a good understanding of the meaning of date marking (and the difference between "use by" as an indicator of safety and "best before" as an indicator of quality);
- "use by" dates are used only where there is a safety-based rationale for doing so, consistent with the Regulation on Food Information to Consumers
- the product life stated on the packaging is consistent with the findings of safety and quality tests, and is not shortened unnecessarily by other considerations, such as product marketing;
- storage and open life guidance are consistent with the findings of safety and quality tests;
- there is a level of consistency in storage of food at retail and guidance for consumers regarding the temperatures at which products should be stored in the home.
EU guidelines on food donation
As part of the Circular Economy Action Plan, the Commission has adopted EU food donation guidelines in order to facilitate the recovery and redistribution of safe, edible food to those in need.
Developed in consultation with the EU Platform on Food Losses and Food Waste, the EU food donation guidelines seek to:
- facilitate compliance of providers and recipients of surplus food with relevant requirements laid down in the EU regulatory framework (e.g. food safety, food hygiene, traceability, liability, VAT, etc.);
- promote common interpretation by regulatory authorities in the EU Member States of EU rules applying to the redistribution of surplus food.
Study on Identifying the Impact of the Circular Economy on the FMCG industry: Opportunities and Challenges for Labour Market, Supply Chains and Consumer Behaviour
The stakeholder panel discussed the issue of integrating consumer insights in the circular economy: needs, benefits and best practices.