The new Circular Action Plan that was announced yesterday (11 March) by the European Commission, introduces legislative and non-legislative measures, aiming to promote circular economy processes and foster sustainable consumption. The Commission estimates that by adopting more circular practices in our economies, it can increase EU’s GDP by 0.5% by 2030, creating also 700.000 new jobs.
The main aim of the Action Plan is to transform the way products are made and empower consumers to make sustainable choices by reducing waste in areas like textiles, packaging, building material, batteries and electronics, which have so far been unaddressed at the EU level.
For ICT and electronics, the Action Plan promotes reusability, reparability as well as upgradeability of components and software to avoid premature obsolescence. For example, it envisions an EU-wide scheme to incentivise recycling of mobile phones, along with measures for manufactures to have a common type of charger across all mobile brands.
Regarding the built environment, it aims to promote the adoption of circularity principles throughout the whole lifecycle of buildings – from design to demolition/reuse. This will include life cycle assessment in public procurement in construction, as well as tighter targets for construction waste and its fractions. The use of tools such as Level(s) and digital logbooks for buildings are expected to play an important role to this direction.
A transition to a more circular production and consumption patterns will require decisive measures to shift financing towards more sustainable investments. The Commission has already taken initiatives to this direction, including the integration of circular economy objectives into the recently announced EU Taxonomy Regulationand preparing EU Ecolabel criteria for financial products. The Circular Economy Finance Support Platform will continue to support businesses on the financial risks and capacity building considerations of more circular approaches.