Annual Conference 2023: Recovery, Open Strategic Autonomy and Resilience
On 27 and 28 February 2023, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and the European Commission hosted the 2023 European Circular Economy Stakeholder Conference in hybrid mode. The sixth Conference brought together Europe's biggest circular economy stakeholders to focus on the role of the circular economy in driving sustainable recovery, open strategic autonomy and resilience. The two-day event was an opportunity to present the circular economy as a key factor in building resource independence and resilience while ensuring that policy objectives are linked to sustainable consumption and production.
Circular economy principles allow for sustainable development by decoupling economic growth from resource use and environmental impact. The principles of ‘do no harm’ and ‘build back better’ couldn’t be more in line with the circular economy, which contributes to economic and social resilience as well as to the green and digital transition. EU initiatives on circularity, ecodesign and waste prevention will also bolster efforts to achieve the zero pollution, biodiversity protection and restoration, and climate goals.
The European Commission hosted Day 1 of the Conference (27 February 2023). The event included a focus on the main issues at the heart of the negotiations taking place in 2023 and looked back at the initiatives adopted in 2022 by the Commission. The plenaries presented innovative regulations and initiatives, showcased best practices of EU-funded projects and schemes and explored future developments in circular economy policies in the EU. To conclude the European Year of Youth, a youth representative provided a perspective from a different generational angle.
The afternoon's technical parallel sessions discussed the transition to safe-and-sustainable chemicals, the European automotive industry driving towards circularity and the environmental and social impacts of global textiles value chains. The plenary sessions and parallel sessions were broadcast live from the Commission’s Charlemagne building in Brussels (with speakers and moderators on stage).
The EESC hosted Day 2 of the Conference (28 February 2023). The event focused on stakeholders' views in a series of sessions and two interactive workshops. The sessions and workshops were grouped under two main topics: Biodiversity and climate and Resilience for Europe.
Day 2 also hosted a Networking Village, online and onsite, an exhibition space where a selection of Circular Economy stakeholders were able to highlight their good practices and pitch their projects to a broader audience.
Watch the key takeways from some of our speakers on Day 2: