Monitoring framework for the circular economy (communication)

EESC opinion: Monitoring framework for the circular economy (communication)

Gist of the Committee opinion

The EESC welcomes the Communication on Monitoring the Implementation of the Circular Economy (COM(2018) 29 final) as an important follow up to the Circular Economy Action Plan and as recommended in the EESC opinion on Circular Economy Package[1]. This Communication is a good starting point, but it is missing a number of relevant and essential indicators:

  • Eco-design
  • Development of (new) business models
  • Collaborative economy
  • Social indicators
  • Emissions data

The EESC notes that, although it is a consultative body to the EU institutions, it was not consulted during the consultation process for the development of these indicators. The circular economy is linked to the low-carbon economy and the Sustainable Development Goals, and as a result, the monitoring indicators should reflect this.  Monitoring needs to move away from being overly focused on waste. The definition of "circular economy sectors" is narrow and should be elaborated further, as it has implications for several indicators. Lack of data in a specific area should not be a reason for exclusion. The data gaps should be made explicit, and strategies identified to ensure those gaps are filled. If we continue to limit ourselves to traditional old data then we will not be accurately measuring the transition to a new economic model.

There are inconsistencies in policies and regulations that amount to barriers to the transition towards a circular-economy model for the business sector. These inconsistencies should be mapped as part of the monitoring framework.

The use of public money should be monitored with its own indicator. Investments that were made specifically for circular-economy initiatives should have built-in data that could be used to develop this indicator. It is also important to monitor "money spent" as well as "money invested".

The European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform should be used as a vehicle for ensuring engagement with active stakeholders in the field, and a communication strategy with concrete goals to achieve this should be drawn up and implemented.

Awareness raising and education at the consumer and user levels should be measured to ensure an increased understanding of the role of the consumer in the circular economy and in the flow of materials. Infrastructural supports that enable consumers to improve their behaviour with regard to resource efficiency, and activities that support the transformation from "consumer" to "user" should be encouraged and measured.

[1]           OJ C 264, 20.7.2016, p. 98