Green companies including about 2900 SMEs and 100 large businesses call upon the EU to launch a Green Deal with a Circular Economy Action Plan generating strong traction to low-carbon circular products and services.
A recent report by the European Environmental Agency gave devastating marks for Europe’s environment policies. European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans has stated that “we can fix this” and “create a real systemic change”. A leaked draft for a new European Green Deal he is preparing includes ambitious proposals, however concrete details are still lacking. Ecopreneur’s 3000 green companies are ready to face the challenge. To enable them, they call upon the European Council, Parliament and Commission to launch a strong EU Green Deal with a Circular Economy Action Plan to transform our economic model into one realising sustainable production, distribution and consumption, with increased welfare for low-income citizens and fostering “regenerative champions”: companies that are generating positive externalities for the climate and the environment.
By implementing green business models, our companies have identified limits and barriers to this transition, which deter creation of a supportive business environment and investment climate. One major barrier is a lack of demand for circular products and services. We therefore call on the EU to implement the following policy measures:
- Circular procurement policies: Lead by example and launch Green Deals in all member states to assist municipalities and companies, following the success in the Netherlands and Belgium to create demand
- Increased CO2 pricing, tax measures (VAT) and extended producer responsibility (EPR) fees to make circular products and services cheaper, and polluting one more expensive, while reducing the tax on labour (“tax shift”) to create more demand. Specifically, make sure EPR schemes are closely aligned by clear guidelines and reconsider harmonisation to create a level playing field within the single market involving all actors in the value chain, including importers.
- Assist SMEs and larger companies with circular design via the funding of public-private partnerships in all member states – to create supply
- Encourage the development of circular economy roadmaps by member states
- Prevent the use of EU funds for investments in residual waste incineration
- Create a general regulatory framework that creates harmonised transparency and traceability, introduces minimum requirements for circular design including resource efficiency for all end products, and removes existing obstacles for cross-border shipment of waste within the EU
- Step up enforcement of regulations to effectively promote circular solutions and manage waste according to the waste hierarchy
- Endorse a long-term strategy to reduce CO2 emissions and achieve climate neutrality by 2050.
More detailed recommendations and successful examples can be found in Ecopreneur.eu’s recent Circular Economy Update report.
Manfred Mühlberger, Chairman of Ecopreneur.eu representing Grüne Wirtschaft, Austria
Jan-Karsten Meier, Board Member of UnternehmensGrün, Germany
Michel Schuurman, Director of MVO Nederland
Frédéric Benhaim, President of Entreprendre Vert, France
Thibaut Georgin, General Secretary of Ecopreneur.eu Belgium
Ann-Sofie Granzell, President of CirEko, Sweden