During the 2020 European Circular Economy Stakeholder Conference in November, Ecopreneur.eu had the the opportunity to moderate and facilitate a total of four virtual workshops that were prepared by members of the European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform Coordination Group (ECESP-CG). The annual conference brings together representatives from businesses, public authorities, NGOs, knowledge communities and civil society to advance on the transition to a circular economy. Ecopreneur.reports about the outcome:
1. Workshop on “Economic Incentive Policies”
This session by ECESP Leadership Group focused on the economic incentives necessary to create strong market demand for circular products and services. Moderated by Arthur ten Wolde from Ecopreneur.eu, participants outlined the crucial importance of these particular instruments to create a market for low-carbon circular products and services, and identified the political challenges to realise them.
As stated by Professor Paul Ekins, UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources, University College London: „Without incentives for circularity, the circular economy will not happen. When someone says they want a circular economy, ask them what new incentives they will introduce to achieve it.“ Astrid Ladefoged from the European Commission explained current trends possibilities. Click here for the workshop report and here for the recording.
2. Workshop on “Circular Procurement”
Signed up for by 240 people, this workshop moderated by Veerle Labeeuw featured a presentation by Thomas Ulbricht from circular-economy frontrunner Werner & Mertz about the “Pre-Tender” part of a typical procurement processes. The aim was to help policy-makers address the bottlenecks in current legislation and outline practical ways for businesses to transform their offer into products & services. “Circularity or sustainability is still not top of public procurement criteria, as 55% of the EU public tenders are aimed at the lowest price”, warned Ulbricht. Click here for the workshop report and watch Ulbricht’s presentation at 38:10 in “Stakeholderevent CE – Pre-tender” recording.
3. Workshop on „Making textiles & fashion last longer“
Many retailers and manufacturers pursue a fast fashion business model associated with significant negative environmental and social externalities. More than 50 % of these textiles are disposed in less than a year.
This workshop organised and moderated by RREUSE was a brainstorming session designed to feed into the preparation of the new EU Strategy for Textiles to be published in late 2021. In the breakout sessions, one of them facilitated by Ecopreneur.eu, participants looked into the most effective policy instruments and incentives to push the market towards long-lasting and durable clothing that effectively reduces consumption levels post-Covid. Clothes should be used often, intensely and over a long period. The quality aspect is therefore highly important. A tax shift from labour to environmental impact including a lower VAT on more sustainable products was mentioned as a new challenge and major driver of change. The workshop report is here.
4. Workshop on „Inspirational Guidelines for Circular Economy Roadmapping“
Moderated by ECESP Chairman Ladeja Godina Cosir, this workshop outlined the concrete insights, proposals and activities required to drive a top-down and bottom-up approach in the Circular Economy roadmapping processes at national level. Participants looked at how national roadmaps could serve as a compass for post-COVID 19 transformational change. Ecopreneur.eu’s Policy Officer Siegfried Anton Schmuck stressed the need for regional Circular Acceleration Houses to help SMEs with circular models. Watch his contribution in the video registration as of 59″42. The workshop report is here.