July 2018

Assessing the Circular Economy Potential of EU Product Policy

Back

Posted in | | by

We are leading a consortium of six European consultancies in a major new study into how EU policy can improve the circular economy contributions of a range of product groups.

The work is being undertaken on behalf of the European Commission’s DG Environment, which seeks to understand what policies it might put in place to stimulate circular economy growth around product groups identified as having high untapped circular potential. The product groups, for which greater circularity promises environmental, economic and social gains, are: energy related products, construction products, chemicals, textiles, furniture, transport/automotive products and toys.

The consortium is delivering a number of separate but related tasks that will feed into one another as the work progresses before ultimately informing a set of policy recommendations for the Commission. The work packages being delivered are:

  • A literature review aimed at estimating the circularity potential for each product group;
  • An analysis of how existing EU legislation and non-legislative policy tools help support the circular economy for each product group;
  • A literature review of case studies on national initiatives taken to increase the circularity of the product groups;
  • On the basis of tasks 1–3, identification of potential policy actions/packages to improve the overall circular economy contribution of the EU product policy framework; and
  • A 12-week public consultation, alongside seven stakeholder workshops and a European conference.

Our main project partners in the consortium are Ecofys and Milieu, with support from COWI, Adelphi and Fraunhofer ISI.  All bring unique strengths to the team such as expertise in specific product categories or European regions. Our team will focus on the literature review elements, consultations and workshops, and on suggesting new policy frameworks where none are currently in place.

The study links to the Action Plan contained in the European Commission’s Circular Economy Package, which sets out steps that Member States need to take to move towards a low carbon circular economy. It also contains a commitment for the Commission to examine options and actions for a more coherent policy framework around EU product policy and its contribution to the circular economy.

Eunomia Project Director Mark Hilton said:

“By having won this work, we are not only able to shape future EU product policy to drive greater circularity in the economy, but also gain insight into how forthcoming policy changes may affect businesses and influence their priorities. This allows us to provide more insightful guidance for key decision makers in the public and private sectors.”

Image by Thomas Hawk, Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0