Circular economy: “further ambitious efforts are needed“ – European Council

Further “ambitious” efforts are needed to stimulate a systemic transition to a sustainable society, according to the European Council, which is calling for action to promote circularity across the value chain.

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The European Council has stressed in its conclusions to recently adopted EU legislation to help tackle marine litter, that further ambitious efforts are needed to stimulate a systemic transition to a sustainable society.

The Council has invited the Commission to come up with an “ambitious long-term strategic framework”, including a common vision for a circular economy and to adopt a new circular economy action plan with targeted actions.

The Council has also called for action to promote circularity systemically across the value chain, including from the consumer perspective, in key sectors including textiles, transport, food as well as construction and demolition.

The Council stresses more measures are needed on batteries and plastics.

In its conclusions, the Council highlights that “ecodesign” principles have helped make an increasing number of energy-related products more energy-efficient, and tasks the Commission with assessing whether ecodesign principles could be applied to new product groups (for example information and communications technology products) and, if appropriate, to put forward a legislative proposal.

The Council asks the Commission to broaden the scope of eco-design measures by including criteria on material efficiency such as durability, reparability, recyclability and recycled content.

The conclusions also encourage the use of “economic instruments”, such as environmental taxation, green tax reforms and extended producer responsibility schemes, to promote the circular economy, more sustainable production and consumption patterns, and improved waste management.

The Council highlights that the procurement of products and services can boost circular markets and investments in clean, safe, non-toxic and sustainable cycles.

Businesses and the financial sector should be encouraged to use clear and comparable environmental performance targets to guide their investments.

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