EU ministers fight for circular economy

EU environmental ministers have opposed a push by the European Commission to withdraw the pending circular economy package.

Richard Collins

The commission wants to streamline the regulatory agenda but the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament are both opposed to ditching the circular economy rules. EurActiv reports they will be consulted before any proposals are withdrawn, but with ministers unanimously rejecting the move it seems there is little common ground.

The commission is sending mixed signals, which says it wants to redraft the package “to be more ambitious”, focusing beyond waste to the development of new business opportunities in green growth and green technologies.

Italy currently holds the presidency of the EU and Italian Environment Minister Gian Luca Galletti said the move top jettison the current package sent a “negative signal” about Europe’s commitment to climate change and would undermine progress to the Paris climate conference next December.

EurActiv revealed industry association BusinessEurope had given the commission a kill list of environmental laws it wanted dumped, including the circular economy package.

However, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation shows many in the private sector are embracing the concept. Its end of year wrap shows 95 companies are now signed up to its CE100 program, while its global partners Philips, Unilever, Cisco, Renault and Kingfisher are demonstrating circular innovation at scale across a number of key sectors.

“Looking ahead, 2015 is already looking very busy and full of fascinating projects. We will notably be working on the creation of a policy toolkit for circular economy, as well as pressing on with Project MainStream in partnership with the World Economic Forum and McKinsey & Company. On the training front, we have started developing a circular economy module destined to build capacity within organisations.”

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