As a follow-up to the Consumer Dialogues, "Les Assises des Consommateurs" (the 2018 Consumer Summit) showcased the results of this outreach and offered the opportunity for debate and conclusions.
The transition to a Circular Economy is high on the EESC agenda as a solution to fight the climate crisis and protect our planet. It is a great opportunity for civil society as it can help to:
- increase the competitiveness of European industry;
- promote sustainable economic growth;
- generate new jobs.
The 'take-make-waste' model of production and consumption that still dominates our economy today is not only culminating in wasted resources, but also undermining the fight against climate change. Unlike the linear economy, a Circular Economy is a regenerative and restorative design that focuses on economic value creation and retention, tackling global environmental challenges such as climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution while yielding economic benefits.
The good news is that the circular transition is already happening on the ground. Stakeholders from civil society including businesses, trade unions, academia and knowledge communities, youth organisations as well as NGOs and other interest groups are creating and implementing many circular initiatives at local and regional level. Catalysing circular solutions and leadership from relevant stakeholders is Europe's best opportunity to accelerate the transition to a Circular Economy.
As such, the European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform, a joint initiative of the EESC and the European Commission, is a platform established in 2017 to bring together the Circular Economy community in Europe. The stakeholder-driven platform supports Europe's transition towards a Circular Economy by fostering dialogue, sharing knowledge and exchanging best practices.
Action on plastics was identified as a priority in the 2015 Circular Economy Action Plan, to help European businesses and consumers to use resources in a more sustainable way. The hearing will look into the strategy on plastics in a circular economy (including action on marine litter) proposed by the EC in the context of both the Communication on A European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy (COM(2018) 28 final) and the proposal for a Directive on Port Reception Facilities (COM(2018) 33 final).
The 2nd annual conference of the European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform took place on 20 and 21 February 2018. The first day was hosted by the Commission (DG GROW and DG ENV) in the Charlemagne building, the second day by the European Economic and Social Committee.
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.