The fifth edition of the annual Circular Economy Stakeholder Conference will take place in hybrid format on 1 and 2 March 2022, with a focus on sustainable products for sustainable consumption. The European Commission and the European Economic and Social Committee have joined forces with the French Presidency of the European Union to organise this flagship stakeholder conference, gathering decision makers, businesses, public authorities, NGOs, knowledge communities and civil society organisations to discuss ways to advance the transition to a circular economy in Europe. Participants will have the opportunity to grow their network of circular partners, and discussions will focus on upcoming milestones in the implementation of the EU’s Circular Economy Action Plan, including the sustainable products initiative and the sustainable textiles strategy.
On Day 1, sessions will cover a wide range of topics, including making sustainable products the norm, the importance of consumer information and addressing green claims, the role of the circular economy in the climate agenda, boosting the EU market for secondary raw materials, and the upcoming Communication on biobased and biodegradable plastics. Day 2 will comprise stakeholder-driven workshops highlighting success stories and identifying new challenges and opportunities in areas such as construction and infrastructure, food and bioeconomy, circular procurement and economic incentives.
Opening the debate, Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal said:
The green transition will free us from our dependence on energy- and other resource imports. The circular economy more specifically will allow us to reduce our demand for primary resources, and use a lot less energy for our production and consumption. At this moment, the need to work together towards a common future is bigger than ever before, also because we are running headfirst into the limits of what our planet can provide.
Virginijus Sinkevičius, Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries said:
To meet the goals of the European Green Deal, it is crucial to improve of resource and energy efficiency in production cycles and the environmental impacts of using and disposing of products. We need everyone on board to make sustainable production and consumption the norm. In March, the Commission will deliver a set of regulatory tools to foster the green transition. The dedication and commitment shown by all stakeholders at this conference shows that, together, we can make the transition to a fully circular economy.
Christa Schweng, President of the European Economic and Social Committee said:
Russia's aggression against Ukraine comes first and foremost with human suffering of Ukrainian people. It will also impact the EU economy – in particular through higher global energy prices, which will affect countries, businesses, and individual people. This is just one of many reasons to step up our efforts in the circular economy, in order to build a sustainable, just and inclusive future for Europe, for the benefit of our businesses and our people, and to boost the EU's strategic autonomy.
Barbara Pompili, France's Minister for the Ecological Transition said:
Above and beyond our national initiatives, the circular economy is a priority for the European Union, and particularly for our six-month presidency of the Council, highlighted "The challenge for us is to make the transition between two worlds: from the throwaway mentality that still characterises our society far too much, to one of sustainability and reusability. I am quite convinced that we have the means to reduce our carbon footprint and our use of resources while still gaining quality of life and purchasing power.
As part of the European Green Deal, in March 2020 the Commission adopted the new Circular Economy Action Plan, aiming to reduce the EU's consumption footprint and double the EU's circular material use rate in the coming decade, while boosting economic growth. It announces initiatives for the entire life cycle of products, from design and manufacturing to consumption, repair, reuse, recycling, and resources back into the economy.
Implementation of the actions outlined in the Action Plan is ongoing. At the end of March, the Commission will adopt the Sustainable Products Initiative - one of the flagship actions outlined in the plan. The initiative seeks to transform how products are designed in Europe, making them more circular and resource-efficient, reducing waste and minimising environmental impacts throughout their life cycle. At the end of March, the Commission will also adopt the first-ever EU Strategy on Sustainable Textiles.
Other upcoming initiatives include a legislative proposal for empowering consumers in the green transition, with many other upcoming milestones expected throughout the year.
For more information
Keynote speech - Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal
EU Circular Economy Action Plan
- Publication date
- 1 March 2022
- Directorate-General for Environment