Objectives of the event: to present two EESC opinions on the topic, to propose a concrete action plan with a view to foster more ecologic, economic, environmental and user friendly consumption patterns among consumers and to evaluate the impact of the EESC opinion on built-on obsolescence, to evaluate the tangible results of consumer awareness raising and to see and to discuss modalities and best practices of product labelling that includes information on expected product lifetimes.
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As part of the EESC's food waste initiative, one of the "Wind of Change" projects supported by the Committee's president, Mr Malosse, the EESC is hosting this photo exhibition.
With a view to taking stock of the Action Plan's implementation, looking at next steps and discussing the goals and practicalities of a European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform, the EESC and the European Commission co-organised a conference which took place on 9-10 March in Brussels.
The building sector plays a key role in the European economy in terms of contribution to GDP and job creation. Achieving greater energy efficiency of the sector is a core objective of the Europe 2020 strategy and the EU's energy and climate policy. Europe's ageing building stock represents both an enormous potential and a huge challenge in terms of reducing demand for energy.
The EESC has produced a large number of opinions during the 2010-2015 mandate on subjects relating to new production and consumption patterns. These include the opinions on built-in obsolescence, collaborative consumption and the circular economy. When it comes to the main pillars underpinning the new economic model for change, the theme of the functional economy, defined as the sale of use rather than of ownership, is the only issue not yet to have been addressed by the committee.
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) is currently preparing an own initiative opinion on "The impact of the conclusions of COP21 on European transport policy". A hearing was organized in order to gather relevant views on this issue and shape concrete proposals to inform the EESC's forthcoming opinion.
The functional economy focuses on the use of a product rather than its ownership. Specifically, with the functional economy model, a company sells the right to use a product of which it maintains ownership. The famous example is Michelin, which no longer sells tires for fleets of company cars, but supplies "mobility services" consisting of repairing, retreading and in some cases exchanging tires. The economic outcome is that the company has an interest in making its products last as long as possible because the price is based on usage (in this case, the number of kilometres driven) and thus in reducing waste.
Sustainable Development Goals: Implementation in Europe – United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) Opportunities for Engagement of Major Groups and Stakeholders (MGS)
The EESC is drawing up an opinion on the Commission's recent communication dedicated to waste to energy. This public hearing aimed at gathering stakeholders' views on this critical aspect of the waste management and the transition towards a circular economy.
Many consumer products could have a longer service-life. However, particularly in the IT and household appliance sectors, some components seem to be designed to become obsolete so that the product becomes unusable after a certain period of time or rely on the use of specific consumable items. This has a number of damaging consequences: the cost to consumers of early replacement of the product or dependence to expensive consumable items, the overuse of natural resources and raw materials.