Tien belangrijkste punten uit de Green Deal (WEEE Forum)

Op vrijdag 13 december is met een slotverklaring duidelijk geworden dat de klimaatconferentie in Madrid niet heeft gebracht waar velen op hoopten. Aan de andere kant is afgelopen week door de EC de Europese green deal gepresenteerd. Een publicatie waarin de EC mondiaal leiderschap toont op het gebied van klimaat en grondstoffen. Onderstaand in vogelvlucht de tien belangrijkste punten uit de Green Deal die relevant zijn voor ons (dit overzicht is vrijdag opgesteld door het WEEE Forum):

The European Commission has issued its long-awaited European Green Deal. The' publication of the CRM list, the EU Industrial Strategy and the Circular Economy Action Plan are scheduled for March 2020. Legislative waste reforms are planned for next year too.

Here are the 10 key highlights with relevance for our sector.

1. In a nutshell, the European Green Deal is a new growth strategy that aims to transform the EU into a fair and prosperous society, with a modern, resource-efficient and competitive economy where there are no net emissions of greenhouse gases in 2050 and where economic growth is decoupled from resource use. It is also an integral part of this Commission’s strategy to implement the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda and the sustainable development goals. The SDG will take centre stage on day one of WEEE Forum conference in Lucerne on 27-28 May 2020.

2. The Commission will propose the first European ‘Climate Law’ by March 2020. This will enshrine the 2050 climate neutrality objective in legislation. 

3. While the circular economy action plan will guide the transition of all sectors, action will focus in particular on resource-intensive sectors such as textiles, construction, electronics and plastics. 

4. The circular economy action plan will also include measures to encourage businesses to offer, and to allow consumers to choose, reusable, durable and repairable products. It will analyse the need for a ‘right to repair’, and curb the built-in obsolescence of devices, in particular for electronics.

5. The Commission will step up its regulatory and non-regulatory efforts to tackle false green claims.

6. Digitalisation can also help improve the availability of information on the characteristics of products sold in the
EU. For instance, an electronic product passport could provide information on a product’s origin, composition, repair and dismantling possibilities, and end of life handling. The WEEE Forum is currently steering the preparation of a project proposal responding to a call under the Horizon 2020 research programme, which seeks to design a product information management system. The proposal has been christened 'PRISM'.

7. A sustainable product policy also has the potential to reduce waste significantly. Where waste cannot be avoided, its economic value must be recovered and its impact on the environment and on climate change avoided or minimised. This requires new legislation, including targets and measures for tackling over-packaging and waste
generation. In parallel, EU companies should benefit from a robust and integrated single market for secondary raw materials and by-products. This requires deeper cooperation across value chains, as in the case of the Circular Plastics Alliance. The Commission will consider legal requirements to boost the market of secondary raw materials with mandatory recycled content (for instance for packaging, vehicles, construction materials and batteries). To simplify waste management for citizens and ensure cleaner secondary materials for businesses, the Commission will also propose an EU model for separate waste collection. The Commission is of the view that the EU should stop exporting its waste outside of the EU and will therefore revisit the rules on waste shipments and illegal exports. The WEEE Forum is supportive of the value chain approach.

8. Ensuring the supply of sustainable raw materials, in particular of critical raw materials necessary for clean technologies, digital, space and defence applications, by diversifying supply from both primary and secondary sources, is one of the pre-requisites to make this transition happen. 

9. Promoting new forms of collaboration with industry and investments in strategic value chains are essential. The WEEE Forum agrees, but insists that the scope of focus should go beyond rare earth elements and CRM, and include printed circuit boards in WEEE and magnets, for example.

10. Digital technologies are a critical enabler for attaining the sustainability goals of the Green Deal in many different sectors. The Commission will explore measures to ensure that digital technologies such as artificial intelligence, 5G, cloud and edge computing and the internet of things can accelerate and maximise the impact of policies to deal with climate change and protect the environment. Digitalisation also presents new opportunities for distance monitoring of air and water pollution, or for monitoring and optimising how energy and natural resources are used. At the same time, Europe needs a digital sector that puts sustainability at its heart. The Commission will also consider measures to improve the energy efficiency and circular economy performance of the sector itself, from broadband networks to data centres and ICT devices. The Commission will assess the need for more transparency on the environmental impact of electronic communication services, more stringent measures when deploying new networks and the benefits of supporting ‘take-back’ schemes to incentivise people to return their unwanted devices such as mobile phones, tablets and chargers. The WEEE Forum conference in Lucerne on 27-28 May 2020 will have a digital circular economy as one of its main themes.