About 50% of greenhouse gas emissions are related to materials and the manufacturing of products. Strong Circular Economy policies are therefore needed to meet the climate goals. Ecopreneur.eu, a member of the ECESP Coordination Group, has worked out far-reaching proposals as input for the EU Green Deal.
The high priority given by EU institutions to climate change reflects the growing concern of European citizens for its impacts. Adopting the 2050 carbon neutrality goal is a crucial first step. To actually achieve the climate goals, the introduction of strong circular economy policies is urgently needed – as backed up by various reports.
“A huge share of global greenhouse gas emissions are released during the extraction and processing of raw materials and the manufacturing of goods. We therefore need to fundamentally change the way we design, manufacture and use products and materials”
says Manfred Mühlberger, chairman of Ecopreneur.eu, the European Sustainable Business Federation.
“Ecopreneur.eu has worked out far-reaching policy recommendations to accelerate and mainstream the circular economy, that can take EU industry about halfway towards net-zero emissions”
adds executive director Arthur ten Wolde.
Comprehensive eco-design for product longevity, maintenance, repair and sharing is key to increase the product life-time and reduce materials consumption. Importantly, circular economy practices include moving from waste incineration to recycling, substituting virgin materials with high embedded emissions by recycled materials.
Key measures are financial incentives such as
- extended producer responsibility
- low VAT
- a tax shift from labour to resources, sending clear price signals to the market.
Circular procurement is needed to increase the demand for circular products and services. Together with targeted innovation policies and programs, regulation, trade policies and voluntary actions, this can create a circular framework and create millions of jobs.