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.
Together for a cleaner and more competitive Europe
DAY 1 - online – 3 November 2020
Moderator: Jacki Davis
9:30 | Opening - An ambitious agenda for a green recovery: the Green Deal, the Circular Economy Action Plan, and the Europe we want – Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President of the European Commission
9:40 | Christa Schweng, President of the European Economic Social Committee
9:50 | Plenary I- Discover the new Action Plan: a common agenda to deliver on a circular and climate-neutral economy
Jochen Flasbarth, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety
Florika Fink Hooijer, Director General, DG Environment, European Commission
Dr Christoph Epping, Deputy Director-General, Resource Conservation, Circular Economy, Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety
Jan Huitema, Rapporteur of report on the CEAP, European Parliament
Tjisse Stelpstra, Rapporteur on the opinion on the new Circular Economy Action Plan, European Committee of the Regions
10:35 | Coffee Break
11:05 | Plenary II – Making Sustainable Products the norm
Kurt Vandenberghe, European Green Deal Adviser, President von der Leyen's Cabinet
Sandrine Dixson-Declève, Co-President, The Club of Rome
Jocelyn Bleriot, Executive Lead Institutions, Governments & Cities, Ellen MacArthur Foundation
Dirk Vantyghem, Director-General, Euratex
12:05 | #EUCircularTalk with Virginijus Sinkevičius, Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries
Kestutis Sadauskas, Director Circular Economy and Green Growth, DG Environment, European Commission
Ladeja Godina Košir, Chair of the Coordination Group, European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform
12:35 | Lunch break
Lunchtime event: European Business Awards for the Environment – 12:35 (60’)
14:00 | Parallel online sessions1
- Better consumer information and reliable green claims: discussing next steps to support sustainable consumption
Consumers face a variety of environmental labels and initiatives on environmental performance on the market. Some of these methods and initiatives are reliable, some not. Another issue is greenwashing – companies giving a false impression of their environmental impact or benefits. The Circular Economy Action Plan proposes that these claims are to be substantiated by companies using Product and Organisation Environmental Footprint methods. This session will explore how we can empower buyers through reliable green claims to make more sustainable choices in the transition to a circular economy.
- Circular economy to #RevitaliseRetail
Representatives of small, big, online and offline retailers will discuss the role of the circular economy for the retail and wholesale sectors, in particular in the context of their recovery from the COVID crisis. The circular economy can help retailers and wholesalers build their resilience for the future. How can investment in the circular economy help retail and wholesale businesses respond to evolving consumers’ needs, adapt their environmental impact and help them improve their resilience for the future?
- Education, learning and skills for the circular economy
In this session experts and stakeholders will develop on the need to increase circular economy knowledge, competences and skills from an early age and throughout life, in both private and public sector, through co-operation between different disciplines. By also referring to the European Skills Agenda, and to the upcoming Pact for Skills announced in the new Circular Economy Action Plan, the discussion will cover Higher Education, Vocational Education and Training, Adult General Learning and Childhood and School Education for the implementation of a circular economy.
- Innovation and research: building a future-ready circular economy
The top world scientists will assess the scale of natural resource challenge the humanity is facing and propose three interconnected long-term strategies based on dematerialisation, circularity and use of bio-based materials. This session will also discuss the conditions that must be met for circular economy to deliver on its potential.
- Less waste, more value: focus on End of Waste criteria
In the new Circular Economy Action Plan, the Commission commits to scope during 2020-2021 the development of possible further Union-wide end-of-waste (EoW) and by-product criteria (BP). This scoping exercise will help the Commission to make informed decisions on the need to adopt EU-wide EoW and/or BP criteria. Under a circular economy perspective, such harmonised criteria would allow by-products from production processes to be widely recognised in the Union as nonwaste and facilitate its use in the economy. It would also allow waste to be recovered and widely recognised in the Union as a safe and high quality secondary raw material at the level to compete with raw materials and free to be shipped over the Member States’ borders with minimum administrative burdens.
- Level(s): bringing buildings into the circular economy
This parallel session will introduce the audience with the Level(s) framework and how it contributes to the built environment in the context of the circular economy. With the buildings sector being one of the most resource-consuming sectors in Europe, the built environment is a key product value chain in the Circular Economy Action Plan: Level(s) is a framework which brings buildings into the circular economy by encouraging lifecycle thinking, and supporting users all the way from design stage through to operation and occupation of a building.
- Towards a Global Alliance on Circular Economy and Resource Efficiency
This session will present ongoing work towards the establishment of the ‘Global Alliance for Circular Economy and Resource Efficiency’ announced in the Circular Economy Action Plan. This session will offer an opportunity to hear from EU international partners and stakeholders their views on how to support the circular economy transition globally and the possible role of the Alliance to this end.
15:00 | Coffee Break
15:30 | Plenary III- Circular economy in challenging times: driving a green and future-ready recovery
Maria Teresa Fabregas, Director, Directorate for Recovery and Resilience II at Secretariat-General, European Commission
Vincent Coissard, Deputy-Director Waste and Circular Economy, France Ministry for the Green Transition
Discussions during this workshop will focus on effective incentives to push the market towards long-lasting and durable clothing and reducing consumption levels post-COVID. It will also look into policy instruments to ensure design for reuse on the EU market.
The aim of this workshop is to help policy-makers tackle the bottlenecks in legislation and give a unique insight for businesses and decision-makers on how they should transform their offer in products & services.
The workshop will present the main issues and challenges deriving from the reflection paper, focusing on the contribution of the supply chain of the built environment for the mitigation of and adaptation to climate change.
The workshop will show new ways of avoiding food waste, offering economic opportunities, and will underline the importance of creating synergies among the different initiatives and organisations involved in food waste reduction and platforms, such as the EU Platform on Food Losses and Food Waste.
During this workshop, participants will discuss the large gap between favourable attitudes and actual consumption of better-performing products and services and engagement with circular activities. They will explore ways of bringing effective change towards more sustainable and circular behaviour.
The workshop aims to deliver an overview of concrete insights, proposals and activities needed to bridge top-down and bottom-up approach in the CE roadmapping processes on the national level to foster the transformation of Europe into a more sustainable, resilient and inclusive socio-economic system in post-COVID-19 pandemic times.
This workshop will discuss the need for economic incentives to achieve green recovery towards a low-carbon circular economy. How can economic incentives such as taxation, CO2 pricing, circular procurement and Extended Producer Responsibility be used to create strong market demand for circular products and services? What are the political challenges to realise them?
12:50 | Closing Session – Workshop Wrap-up by Moderator Jacki Davis
Joanna Drake, Deputy-Director General, DG Environment
Closing remarks by Ladeja Godina Košir, ECESP Coordination Group Chair