The EESC welcomes the Commission report on the implementation of the Circular Economy Action Plan (CEAP), and in particular the acknowledgement of the vital role stakeholder engagement will play in the transition to a circular economy. The Committee is also supportive of the plans to launch a European Green Deal and propose a new CEAP focusing on specific sectors, such as textiles and construction, set in the political guidelines by the Commission President elect von der Leyen.
The European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform (ECESP) is an established platform for bringing together the circular economy community in Europe. A joint initiative of the Committee and the European Commission, the Platform was created in 2017 following recommendations made in the EESC opinion on the Circular Economy Package. The partnership of the institutions has been a key feature of the Platform's success and it is important that this partnership continues and grows for any new CEAP, to ensure civil society actors are at the heart of the transition. The EESC strongly believes in the key role of the Platform to ensure stakeholder engagement – a role which should continue and be reinforced in the future.
To reflect the increasing importance and multi-dimensionality of the circular economy, for the next mandate the Coordination Group members supporting the Platform should include other key stakeholders (e.g. from the youth and the finance sector), help develop future scenarios to strengthen the interlinkages across sectors, meet more regularly and become ambassadors for the Platform also in fora outside the circular economy community.
The EESC highlights that the circular economy transition must now be driven at national, regional and local level to be inclusive. It is important that activities be tailored to local issues, and that they capitalise on local strengths. A decentralised approach can be particularly instrumental to explore the role of the circular economy in contributing to a good life for citizens. The EESC recommends the creation of a Citizen Insights Panel to help assess citizen behaviour, motivations and barriers to engage with circular solutions.
Consumers' understanding and engagement is also crucial for the success of the circular economy transition. The introduction of a circular economy label could accelerate the transition and support consumers in making a sustainable choice, but should be accompanied by a Europe-wide communication campaign. Capacity building is also a key pillar to support stakeholders in understanding and becoming part of the EU transition towards the circular economy.