The EU has been pursuing a transition to a circular economy in earnest since the launch of the first EU Circular Economy Action Plan in 2015. In March 2020 the European Commission adopted a new Circular Economy Action Plan. Although a number of circular economy initiatives have been put forward, further steps are still needed to achieve a full circular economy transition in the EU.
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Material consumption in the European Union is high and rising, creating significant environmental and social impacts along the value chain from raw material extraction to treatment of waste both inside and outside the EU. Several circular economy initiatives have been put forward or are expected to be implemented to slow and reduce this material throughput and therefore to mitigate its environmental and social consequences. However, all circular economy policies can have positive as well as negative environmental and social spillovers, which should be carefully assessed in policy design.
While the EU has emerged as a global leader with regard to policymaking for the circular economy, the policy agenda to date has not focused on absolutele reduction of resource consumption. Despite the calls of the European Parliament and of an increasing number of Member States for greater efforts to reduce material consumption, the current EU agenda is missing material consumption reduction targets.
The Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence proposal has the potential to transform the way business is conducted in Europe. Consideration of climate change-related adverse human rights and environmental impacts should be central to due diligence frameworks in general and to the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence (CSDD) proposal in particular.
This briefing maps out some of the principal spillovers that may be associated with the introduction of the ‘right to repair’ in the EEE sector in particular, including implications for job creation, labour standards and the role of social economy actors in the repair economy, as well as possible rebound effects both inside and outside the EU, and sets out some initial policy recommendations to address them.
An often-repeated slogan holds that the fight against climate change will be won or lost in cities. Cities drive many pioneering solutions at the local level; however, they face a number of challenges in advancing the progress on climate. The new EU mission Net Zero Cities has the potential to advance their role in the ecological transition but does not come without its challenges.