Delivering on the Circular Economy: Fostering Sustainable Development in the EU

A shift towards Circular Economy could save European businesses up to €600 million annually by 2030 by significantly reducing resource spending. (European Commission, 2015). In recent years the idea of Circular Economy has gained increased prominence in the EU. However, according to the European Environmental Agency (EEA), although the amount of waste generated in the European Union has declined 2% between 2004 and 2012, both total and per capita municipal waste keep increasing (OECD 2018).

In 2015 the European Commission presented the landmark Circular Economy Package (CEP). The CEP’s main goal is to enhance recycling and re-use of waste in a sustainable way while creating competitiveness, jobs and growth. In May 2018, the European Commission took a major step forward, adopting a new set of waste rules, making the EU the global front-runner in waste management and recycling. The new rules require Member States to take specific measures to prioritise prevention, re-use and recycling above landfilling and incineration, while aiming at recycling 70% of all packaging by 2030 and 65% of the municipal waste by 2035. Furthermore, the Commission intends to prevent waste with the Extended Producer Responsibility which makes producers responsible of their products. In July 2018 the CEP became officially an EU law, giving national governments 24 months to integrate the directives into national law.

While the Commission keeps adding new sets of measures such as the Strategy for Plastics in Circular Economy or rules about products and chemicals, a great amount of work is now in the hands of Member States. To carry out the transition towards a functioning circular economy which could have a positive impact on the environment, a multi-level governance is necessary. The European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform was created to this end. Nevertheless, involving the private sectors, NGOs and local authorities is of critical importance to ensure the development of policies at the national level.

Following the recent changes brought to the policy framework, this symposium offers an opportunity to evaluate the implementation of the CEP on national levels, the development of waste reduction policies, and discuss the implementation of effective strategies in order to meet the Commission’s ambitions in creating a circular economy. Moreover, it will highlight the importance of multi-level governance and discuss the role of various stakeholders. Finally, best practice and initiatives from across Europe will be shared.

Delegates will:

  • Review the Circular Economy Strategy and its implementation on national level
  • Analyse the variations across Member States and examine ways to improve harmonisation
  • Discuss successful campaigns and methods to raise awareness and encourage recycling
  • Explore ways to maintain competitiveness and growth while developing innovative solutions to reduce waste
  • Determine ways to implement circular economy without negatively impacting consumers
  • Reviewing the Strategy for Plastics and discussing the role of manufacturers in its implementation
  • Share best practice and work in collective partnerships

To view the brochure, including the full event programme, click here.

Central Brussels