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.
Welcomes the harmonised proposals under the Circular Economy Action Plan and, in this opinion, specifically supports efforts to make products more sustainable. At the same time, it notes that the proposed new Ecodesign Regulation is still vague for the most part, because of the large number of delegated acts.
It proposes faster and more ambitious implementation, but draws particular attention to the fact that the circular economy approach can only succeed if all economic operators – producers, consumers and workers – and authorities are properly involved and informed.
Welcomes the new elements of the Regulation, such as the extended scope, the new ecodesign requirements (durability, repairability, recycling, environmental impact, CO2 emissions, etc.) and the information requirements of the digital product passport and labels, emphasising the importance of correct and relevant information, especially for consumers.
Supports theban on destroying unsold goods – understood as new, returned or repairable goods. It also welcomes the fact that, together with the circular package, the Regulation tackles existing issues, such as greenwashing and obsolescence.
Promotes the Ecodesign Forum, a supporting body with a number of tasks relating to implementation. All stakeholders and civil society representatives, including social partners, should be given the opportunity to put forward ideas and suggestions to improve the process.
Recognises the challenges facing producers and businesses, especially SMEs, but unnecessary red tape should be avoided. It also sees an opportunity to create a new European production standard – Made in Europe – with sustainable product standards.
Underlines that the tools for the declaration of conformity and self-regulation provide scope for entrepreneurship.
Regrettably notes that the Regulation overlooks the social dimension. A reference to the Commission's proposed Directive on Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence seems insufficient.