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.
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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.
After the horse meat scandal, mad cow disease, swine flu and E.Coli cases in cucumbers, the question remains: is food safety chimera or reality in Europe? On 21 June 2013, Vilnius brought together decision makers, experts, consumers and representatives from the food and agriculture sector to analyse the state of food-related issues and propose solutions to current problems.
In the context of the UN 2030 Agenda, the European Economic and Social Committee will hold a public debate where we will explore how the EESC has worked towards implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in practice – both with civil society, and within the Committee itself.
For the first time, UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner paid visit to the EESC, the institutional representation of organised civil society in the EU institutional set-up.
The European Commission released in December 2015 the new version of the circular economy package. Its aim is to help the European economy move from linear to circular, more resource-efficient patterns, by ensuring that less resources are extracted from our natural environment and less waste is produced at the end of the product lifecycle. The package focuses on better design of products, improved waste management and recycling performance of EU Member States and the growth and job creation potential of the circular economy. It includes an Action Plan with a specific timeline up until 2017 on production aspects as well as a series of modifications to the waste legislation.
The hallmark of a sustainable circular economy is a society that reduces its burden on nature by ensuring that resources remain in use for as long as possible. Once the maximum value has been extracted, resources can then be recovered and reused, remanufactured, or recycled to create new products.
In the context of the Slovak Presidency to the EU, the Employers' Group of the European Economic and Social Committee is organising a conference entitled "Sustainable Industry in the context of the Circular Economy". The event will take place on 13th September 2016 in Kosice, Slovakia. The participants of the discussion will elaborate on how the circular economy can support sustainable growth and the role of business in the transition to a more circular economy.
The EESC organized a public hearing on collaborative or participative consumption on 25 September 2013. The aim of this hearing was to gather stakeholders active in the field of collaborative or participative consumption and enable them to present their observations, concerns and expectations related to this phenomenon. Those contributions will feed the EESC's opinion on this topic which is currently under preparation.
How could the Digital Single Market benefit european consumers? This year's theme was a wide-ranging subject covering issues affecting consumers today in a very tangible way. The Committee has recently issued several Opinions and studies covering the digital transformation and how it impacts modes of production and consumption, and its work feeded into the discussions on many relevant topics, such as data sharing, digital inclusion and access to internet for all, artifical intelligence, digital contract rights, unnecessary geo-blocking, digital currencies and fintech, the sharing economy and the Collaborative economy.
The EESC has received a request from the incoming Dutch EU Presidency for an exploratory opinion on how to achieve more sustainable food systems in a resource-constrained world. In the past few years, civil society has been increasingly concerned about the environmental, economic and social impact of unsustainable food chains. Globally, about one-third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted. Food is also one of the most important drivers of environmental pressures. The hearing will represent an opportunity to hear from experts and stakeholders about their views and initiatives for a transition to more sustainable food systems in Europe. The discussion will take a holistic and systemic approach by considering the environmental, economic and social dimensions of sustainability and the importance of cross-sectoral co-operation across the food supply chain.