GEN – 1181.00. The Circular Economy Stakeholder Conference took place on 3 and 4 November and was attended by Orgalim. From the summary made by Orgalim, the main elements for the HVACR industry have been abstracted. These are complemented with the first elements relating to the revision of the MEErP.
Circular Economy Stakeholder conference
This event was organised by the European Commission (EC) and the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC). Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal, EC opened the conference with a presentation entitled ‘An ambitious agenda for a green recovery: The Green Deal, the Circular Economy Action Plan, and the Europe we want’.
The objective of the new CEAP is to deliver on a circular and climate-neutral economy. This would include moving towards reliable green claims to support sustainable consumption and to consider end-of-life aspects with a goal to reduce waste. It is part of Europe’s actions to realise the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
These are the ongoing actions related to Ecodesign and related policies, waste policies and the renovation wave that should support construction in becoming.
The Sustainable Product Initiative, which is expected to be launched next year should that future products are longer-lasting, repairable and recyclable. These elements will also figure in the revision of the Ecodesign Methodology (MEErP) that has just started.
The first action plan focused on waste management, but now the goal is to avoid waste so that resources depletion, ecosystems erosion and climate change are tackled.
Closing production value chain loops will be important and for this there need to be guarantees for the high quality of secondary raw materials so that these can be re-used.
It was highlighted that Europe is on a mission to become climate neutral by 2050, which demands much more than reducing co2 emissions. it requires a new way we produce and consume. This will be not just an environmental, but also industrial and innovation agenda as well. Thee design phase of products has been identified as determining 80% of environmental impacts.
The revised Ecodesign Directive is expected to include minimum environmental requirements on sustainability that can be put in practice. The concepts behind Green Public Procurement could be moved towards Circular Public Procurement that would also embrace societal aspects. These societal aspects will also be considered under the revision of the MEErP. It would look at the employment levels in production of new product and employment in re-use, recycling and end-of-life/waste industries.
The CEAP guiding principles should:
- Give direction on product design (e.g. through Ecodesign)
- Introduce circularity management before production and after use: Sharing reusing repairing and remanufacturing
- Increase the Information availability on products
- Avoid destruction of products and resources
This should be achieved sector by sector, accompanied by a methodology for measuring carbon footprint of products. This would be done in partnership with industry, but it is understood that new business models may be required which would lead to disruption.
Global Circular Economy Alliance
The conference was also attended by participants and speakers from Canada, Columbia, Singapore, South Africa together with the European Commission that a Global Alliance could push the UN General Assembly that can be filled by it to push the Assembly to take Circular Economy CE in its action list. An element that could be pursued is the Extended Producer Responsibility.
Revision of the MEErP
One week after the conference, on 12 November 2020 a webinar took place to inform the 90-plus participants about the revision of the MEErP.
Davide Polverini, DG Grow is the Policy Officer in charge of the revision. The actual work is being carried out by JRC Seville and JRC Ispra. The revision was first announced during a stakeholder meeting at the end May 2019.
The revision is focussing on the technical aspect and not on the policy aspects. It was stressed that the there is no link to the upcoming sustainable product policy initiative.
The deliverables will be a revised MEErP, a new EcoReportTool and a supporting technical document. The EcoReportTool would be, as today, a tool based on Excel accompanied by freely datasets. The revised datasets may result in different appreciations/ratings in future. The datasets will refer to “average” European data because the Ecodesign is a Single Market directive. For that reason, no differentiation according to region, energy supplies, etc. would be included.
The revision consists of 5 tasks:
- Task 1: Updating of the EcoReportTool (JRC-Ispra)
- Task 2: More systematic inclusion of material efficiency aspects and of environmental footprint/ecological profile aspects (JRC-Seville)
- Task 3: More systematic inclusion of societal life cycle costs (JRC-Seville)
- Task 4: More refined evaluation of the economic impacts in task 7 (JRC-Seville)
- Task 5: Other updates and integrations (JRC-Seville)
The objective is to have two stakeholder meetings, one in March/April 2021 (Task 1 and 2) and the second in October/November (Task 3,4 and 5) and having the new MEErP available at the end of 2021.
The updating of the EcoReportTool will include elements and datasets that would:
- Amend Life Cycle Assessment (not necessary according to the ISO 14000 series)
- Refer to EN 4555x standards on the material efficiency (assessment of durability, ability to remanufacture, ability to repair, reuse and upgrade)
- Possibly introduce an Environmental Footprint Declaration (this is now referred to as ‘Environmental Footprint – EF’ or ‘Ecological Profile – EP’)
- Possibly make reference or being used in Green Public Procurement and Ecolabel criteria
The presentations will be on the website: https://susproc.jrc.ec.europa.eu/product-bureau/product-groups/521/home
The overall outcome of this conference is that a lot of effort and input would be forthcoming revision of the MEErP. It does therefore make sense to closely monitor the recently started revision.
Related documents and links
All related documents and articles can be found in the respective sections in the right sidebar.
- MEErP project website: https://susproc.jrc.ec.europa.eu/product-bureau/product-groups/521/home
- Roadmap: https://ec.europa.eu/info/law/better-regulation/have-your-say/initiatives/12567-Sustainable-Products-Initiative
- 2005 and 2011 MEErP can be found on the website of VKH under ‘reports- finished studies and articles’: https://www.vhk.nl/research/reports.htm
- GEN – 1171.00 – Revision of the MEErP
- GEN – 1159.00 – Ecodesign and MEErP update