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Environment Committee fails to grasp a real ‘Circular Economy’

Last week, the European Parliament´s Environment Committee adopted the report of Rapporteur Sirpa Pietikainen on ‘Resource Efficiency: moving towards a Circular Economy’. Ironically for the Environment Committee, the report lacks realism on the crucial policy of Resource Efficiency and thereby fails to pave the way to tapping the potential of turning Circular Economy policies into a true economy opportunity for European industries that manufacture and create jobs in Europe.

“We are a supporter of the sustainable use of resources and committed to continuously improving the environmental performance of our own production processes and products. We also back up several general concepts of the report, such as a strict landfill policy and increased recycling and recovery targets. However, overall, the Environment Committee´s report remains characterised by the old fashioned approach of command and control legislation on products, coupled with multiple layers of administrative burden and costs measured against doubtful environmental effectiveness on the grounds”, commented Adrian Harris, Director General of Orgalime. “There is actually limited room in this report for bringing the value of technical progress and innovative, affordable product designs with least environmental impacts from a life cycle perspective to consumers”, added Harris.

Orgalime urges the plenary of the European Parliament to abstain from backing the Environment Committee report as it stands in its upcoming plenary vote beginning of July. In addition, we urge the Commission to define a new Circular Economy policy that combines environmental ambition with common sense, scientific evidence and facts, economic growth, jobs and cost effectiveness. “It is by integrating policies and working with the market that the pursued environmental objectives can be realistically turned into a win-win for the environment, economy and society as a whole”, concluded Harris.


Notes for Editors:
Besides contradictions and outdated assumptions, the report seems little motivated by sound analysis or common sense. For example, with the increased use of ICT in manufacturing (so called ‘Industry 4.0/smart manufacturing’, which is the key driver for growth in our sector), products become ever more individualised and customer made rather than standardised, mass produced or build on modular components, as the report assumes. Also, prioritising end of life product parameters for any product by any means and without any differentiation immediately risks environmental burden shifting at the expense of other important product parameters, including for example the ‘energy efficiency first’ principle of the recently presented Energy Union Communication or the reduction of hazardous substances, as just strengthened through the adoption of 4 new substance restrictions under RoHS last month.

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