The European Commission adopted a new Circular Economy Action Plan, in order to make Europe’s economy fit for a green future, strengthen the continent’s competitiveness while, at the same time, protecting the environment and give new rights to consumers.
The new Plan aims to ensure that the resources used are kept in the EU economy for as long as possible.
“To achieve climate-neutrality by 2050, to preserve our natural environment, and to strengthen our economic competitiveness, requires a fully circular economy,” highlighted Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal, Frans Timmermans.
According to him, our economy is still mostly linear with only 12 per cent of secondary materials and resources being brought back into the economy.
“Many products break down too easily, cannot be reused, repaired or recycled, or are made for single use only,” Mr Timmermans added.
“We only have one Planet Earth, and yet by 2050 we will be consuming as if we had three,” added Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius. “The new Plan will make circularity the mainstream in our lives and speed up the green transition of our economy. We offer decisive action to change the top of the sustainability chain, product design.”
Among CEE countries, Hungary is already embracing these measures. In 2018, the Business Council for Sustainable Development in Hungary (BCSDH), together with the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and the Ministry of Innovation and Technology, established a Circular Economy Platform, whose program aims to identify obstacles and gaps as well as improve the conditions and environment at the technological, regulatory, market, consumer behaviour and financing levels for circular products, practices and projects.
According to the BCSDH, transitioning to a circular economy is a great business opportunity today. The core of the concept is not yet deeply understood by most companies, although the use of this model can increase the resilience of the world economy and facilitate the achievement of the Paris Climate Change Agreement and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
The new Plan focuses on the sectors that use the most resources and where the potential for circularity is high. The Commission will launch concrete actions on electronics and ICT, batteries and vehicles, packaging, plastics, textiles, construction and buildings and food.
On one hand, the circular economy could generate business opportunities worth 4.5 billion US dollars worldwide by 2030. On the other hand, it can make a decisive contribution to the decarbonisation of our economy.