Circular Economy

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The transition to a Circular Economy is high on the EESC agenda as a solution to fight the climate crisis and protect our planet. It is a great opportunity for civil society as it can help to:

  • increase the competitiveness of European industry;
  • promote sustainable economic growth;
  • generate new jobs.

The 'take-make-waste' model of production and consumption that still dominates our economy today is not only culminating in wasted resources, but also undermining the fight against climate change. Unlike the linear economy, a Circular Economy is a regenerative and restorative design that focuses on economic value creation and retention, tackling global environmental challenges such as climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution while yielding economic benefits.

The good news is that the circular transition is already happening on the ground. Stakeholders from civil society including businesses, trade unions, academia and knowledge communities, youth organisations as well as NGOs and other interest groups are creating and implementing many circular initiatives at local and regional level. Catalysing circular solutions and leadership from relevant stakeholders is Europe's best opportunity to accelerate the transition to a Circular Economy. 

As such, the European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform, a joint initiative of the EESC and the European Commission, is a platform established in 2017 to bring together the Circular Economy community in Europe. The stakeholder-driven platform supports Europe's transition towards a Circular Economy by fostering dialogue, sharing knowledge and exchanging best practices.

  • In March 2017, the European Commission and the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) launched a joint European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform (ECESP). The platform’s 24-member coordination group has now been chosen and the list of participants published.

  • Debate

    The EESC is convinced that islands, mountainous regions and sparsely populated areas face significant challenges and that there is a solid legal basis that obliges the EU to take action in order to tackle these challenges. In this context, the organised civil society has an important role to play and through this debate, the aim is to find the best practices and solutions so that these regions can perform better and recover from the multiple crises. Therefore the EESC- ECO section has decided to organise this public debate in the framework of the EESC own-intiative opinion on "Main challenges that EU islands, mountain and sparsely populated areas face.

  • Insularity is considered to be a permanent and unchangeable geographical feature which involves additional costs (transport, energy, waste management, public services, necessity goods and services) that hamper the development and competitiveness of the islands, while particularly exposing them to biodiversity loss and climate change. The organised civil society has an important role to play and tackle all these challenges and through this debate. The aim is to find the best practices and solutions so that EU islands can preform better and recover from the multiple crises.

  • How can these regions become drivers for growth and development?

    The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) will be producing an own-initiative opinion on the main challenges faced by EU islands and mountainous and sparsely populated areas, which is scheduled for adoption at the EESC's September plenary session. In this context, the EESC, along with the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions (CPMR) and the North Sweden European Office (NSEO), will be holding a public hearing in Umeå (Sweden) on 4 May 2023 entitled "Challenges and opportunities that the digital and energy transitions present to the northern sparsely populated areas and islands. How can these regions become drivers for growth and development?". The hearing is an event under the Swedish Presidency of the Council of the EU.

  • An economically sustainable Europe

    With this debate, the ECO section is providing ex-ante input to the European Commission, in preparation for the upcoming 2023 strategic foresight cycle that wants to shed light on the strategic decisions needed to ensure a socially and economically sustainable Europe with a stronger role in the world in the coming decades.

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    Recovery, Open Strategic Autonomy and Resilience

    On 27 and 28 February 2023, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and the European Commission will host the 2023 European Circular Economy Stakeholder Conference in hybrid mode. The sixth Conference will bring together Europe's biggest circular economy stakeholders to focus on the role of the circular economy in driving sustainable recoveryopen strategic autonomy and resilience.

  • This interactive conference with experts in circular economy competences and youth, policy-makers, academics and business representatives will explore the outputs from the CESCY project.

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    On 1 and 2 March 2022, this annual conference will bring together Europe's largest network of stakeholders in the Circular Economy. The focus this year is on the path to a new normal: "sustainable products for sustainable consumption."

  • Digitalisation and Sustainability: practical recommendations from European civil society | 25/11/2020
    NAT/SDO online conference organized jointly with the German Council Presidency

    The conference will explore the role of European Civil Society in using digitalization in a way that it enables and drives sustainability to support the European Green Deal and the EU sustainable recovery. 

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    The annual Circular Economy Stakeholder Conference, jointly organised by the European Commission and the European Economic and Social Committee, is an opportunity for stakeholders to meet, nurture their networks, share ideas and learn about the new EU policy developments on circular economy. The 2020 edition will be digital with a focus on renewal as we emerge from the COVID pandemic. 

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