In recent years, the European Commission has focused heavily on the circular economy in achieving climate neutrality by 2050. The Swedish business community wants to take a driving role in development and to contribute constructively to the work, writes Jenny Svärd.
More efficient management of resources is essential for ensuring that future resource needs are met and that we are able to reach the climate targets that we have set, as well as many of our other sustainability goals. Moving from a linear to a more circular economy, where the value of products, materials and resources is maintained for as long as possible, will be an important tool in achieving this.
In recent years, the European Commission has focused heavily on the circular economy, and this spring presented its Circular Economy Action Plan (CEAP), its second such plan. The Action Plan emphasises the importance of the circular economy in achieving climate neutrality by 2050, in decoupling economic growth from resource use and in securing the EU's long-term competitiveness. Confederation of Swedish Enterprise welcomes the European Commission's plan; the Swedish business community is at the forefront of these efforts and wants to take a driving role in development and to contribute constructively to the work.
It is crucial for the development of Europe’s circular economy that the internal market functions effectively and that the required policy development takes place at EU level. We see many initiatives by Member States to create national policies and regulations for a circular economy, which in the long run risks creating barriers to circular flows between countries. An ambitious policy at EU level will therefore be central to establishing the best possible conditions for developing the circular economy within the Union. It is clearly encouraging that the EU has a strong focus on circular economy and the fact that a second Action Plan has been developed underlines the European Commission's ambition and objectives in this area. It is also positive that the Action Plan clearly emphasises the importance of the circular economy in ensuring the EU's long-term competitiveness.
In its comments to CEAP, Confederation of Swedish Enterprise has pointed out - among other things - that it is crucial that the plan is synchronised with other policy areas within the European Green Deal. It is important that there is an appropriate balance between this plan and, for example, the EU Industrial Strategy, the Chemicals Strategy, the Climate Act and the Single Market action plan. To ensure a successful transition to a circular economy, it is crucial that development goes hand-in-hand with successful and profitable circular business models and strong competitiveness among European companies.. However, it is not clear from the plan, or the measures proposed, as to how these aspects will be addressed when developing the proposals. it is vitally important that there is a genuine dialogue with the business community as early as possible – while the proposals in CEAP are being developed.
Material and product flows are global and therefore international cooperation must also be reinforced. The development of circular business models would be facilitated if the policies currently being developed by the EU also lead to global standards and/or agreements.
The Commission's plan clearly signals the EU's ambitions and its objective of creating a circular economy in Europe. Several of the suggestions are good, and can take us in the right direction if correctly designed and implemented.
You can read Confederation of Swedish Enterprise’s comments on the CEAP in the appendixKlimat