18 December, Brussels – The Council of the European Union, meeting in its Environment (ENVI) configuration, has adopted a new set of conclusions on eco-innovation and its role in enabling the transition towards a circular economy.
The Estonian presidency, which comes to an end on 31 December, made eco-innovation a priority, and these Council conclusions will give political direction to future activities of the European Commission, building upon the activities proposed in the 2015 Circular Economy Action Plan – around half of which have been implemented so far.
The Council has called for a comprehensive EU product policy that can support the circular economy, covering the whole life-cycle of products, and taking account of material cycles. The conclusions invite the Commission to assess product categories to determine which ones have the highest circularity potentials and develop sustainability and circularity criteria for them.
The conclusions also acknowledge that there are large information gaps regarding the contents of products, arguing that consumers need to be better informed regarding their sustainability, recyclability and re-usability. The Council therefore calls for an examination of existing instruments for providing this information and requests new initiatives to be proposed if existing measures are deemed insufficient.
The Council have also called for measures that can make it easier for businesses to take innovative, sustainable products to the market place, and requests that the Commission provides options for incentives for both businesses and consumers to facilitate eco-innovation – including financial measures, regulations and regulatory relief.
Click here to access the full Council Conclusions on eco-innovation: Enabling the transition towards a circular economy.