Business fully onboard with the circular economy
“We need to understand the challenges of the resource-intensive industries and the small and medium-sized enterprises when moving to a circular economy. BusinessEurope wants to highlight these challenges through something that we officially launch today, namely the EU Circular Economy Industry Platform”, said BusinessEurope Director General Markus J. Beyrer. “Business is fully onboard, not only because it makes business sense to save resources but also because of the strong positive impacts on both job creation and sustainability. The challenges that business faces are not just policy-related, and should therefore not just be patched up with new regulation. It is important to talk to a wide range of stakeholders to make sure that new policies do not hamper the shift towards a more circular Europe”, he added.
Mr. Beyrer launched the platform, which can be accessed through www.circulary.eu, at the closing session of the EU Green Jobs Summit of the Green Week on 31 May, alongside European Commissioners Karmenu Vella (Environment) and Marianne Thyssen (Employment). Director General Calleja Crespo (European Commission DG Environment) moderated the session.
One week later, on 7 June, BusinessEurope will organise a high-level event on circular economy to engage business and the EU Member States. Speakers include European Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen and BusinessEurope Director General Markus J. Beyrer. The event will be moderated by MEP Pavel Telička, Vice-President of the European Parliament (ALDE).
EU circular economy can be a game changer
With the presentation of a new European Circular Economy Industry Platform, BusinessEurope takes an important step in support of more circular economy actions by European business and industry.
“The circular economy can be a game changer for job creation in Europe. It makes business sense but it’s also a monumental task. We should focus on all aspects to improve ‘circularity’, on industrial processes but also product design, changing consumer habits and on upskilling the workforce to succeed. We need to close skills gaps and create new jobs for the transition to a circular economy. Be it architects trained in eco-design or people with knowledge about new materials or at ease with new technologies. The EU needs an overarching policy approach that covers the ‘full circle’. We have shown innovative ways in which the European industry is adding to protecting natural resources and the environment”, said Markus J. Beyrer, Director General of BusinessEurope.
The new European Circular Economy Industry Platform will, among other things, showcase EU business actively engaging in the circular economy. It also shows (regulatory) barriers that businesses face in this shift towards circularity. It outlines the challenges that SMEs, industry and other companies face when they start implementing more circularity into their business. With about 40 examples to start with; new examples will constantly be added.
Key aims of the circular economy industry platform – www.circulary.eu
– The platform showcases practical examples of what EU business is already doing to add to the circular economy in Europe. For example, how they are reducing the use of virgin resources and energy in their production processes, or how they redesign products for better recycling. And of course, how many new jobs these good practices generate. The industry platform starts on 31 May with 40 examples; we will keep adding new examples on a monthly basis.
– The website allows you to navigate easily through these good practices, by sector or by country. Obviously, circular economy can hardly happen within just one company, it requires different companies to work together. For example, through industrial symbiosis where one company’s waste is another company’s input. That is why several of the examples you will find on the website mention different partners, and are linked to several sectors or countries.
– At least as important, the platform outlines challenges that SMEs, industry and other companies face when they start implementing more circularity into their business. Visitors of the website are able to locate projects directly by the challenges they are faced with. These challenges can highlight potential issues with existing or upcoming policies, but from the examples we have collected so far, we can easily see many challenges that are not necessarily connected to any legislation.
– When there are regulatory challenges, they are linked to policy initiatives on the “timeline” page, which presents the state of upcoming legislation. The website itself will not formulate solutions on how to overcome these challenges, but we plan to organise lots of activities in the future to do so, such as events and bottom-up initiatives. These activities will also be published on the “timeline” page.
– SMEs, industry players and other companies can submit their circular economy example directly to the platform through the “Submit your project” page. Whether they want to showcase what they are doing, raise concerns or make their voice heard, develop their network by connecting to other companies, or access the EU/Brussels debate on circular economy.