The EESC issues between 160 and 190 opinions and information reports a year.
It also organises several annual initiatives and events with a focus on civil society and citizens’ participation such as the Civil Society Prize, the Civil Society Days, the Your Europe, Your Say youth plenary and the ECI Day.
The EESC brings together representatives from all areas of organised civil society, who give their independent advice on EU policies and legislation. The EESC's326 Members are organised into three groups: Employers, Workers and Various Interests.
The EESC has six sections, specialising in concrete topics of relevance to the citizens of the European Union, ranging from social to economic affairs, energy, environment, external relations or the internal market.
The scope of the Ecodesign Working Plan 2016-2019 is too limited to be a strong driver for wholesale change in behaviour through the supply chains of goods and services at a pace that would reflect the ambition of the Circular Economy Action Plan.
The ecodesign of goods and services needs to go beyond just energy considerations. Although these are important, there is a need to have a focus on the full lifecycle of products, including their durability, ease of maintenance and repair, potential for sharing and digitisation, reuse, upgradeability, recyclability and actual uptake after use in the form of secondary materials in products entering the market.
Ecodesign needs to incorporate the principles of the circular economy, in the context of digitisation, sharing and the functional economy, in order to have consistency across the various strategies that are intended to deliver a new economic model.
The component parts of a product should be easily recoverable for reuse and/or remanufacture and drive the creation of a strong secondary raw materials market.
Labelling requirements can drive improved ecodesign strategies and help consumers in decision making, thus becoming a driver for behavioural change. Labelling should include a life expectancy of a product, and/or its important components.
The EESC reiterates it support for the use of Extended Producer Responsibility as a tool to promote the transition to circular economy business models, and emphasises that this too can play a role in the promotion of ecodesign.