An EU Action Plan for sustainability
The European Commission Action plan for the Circular Economy wants to go beyond recycling. It raises awareness on principles such as eco design, extended warranty, lower resource use and less waste. This plan sets clear targets:
The EU’s action plan for a circular economy
- A common EU target for recycling 75% of packaging waste by 2030
- A common EU target for recycling 65% of municipal waste by 2030
- A binding landfill target to reduce landfill to maximum of 10% of all waste by 2030
- A ban on landfilling of separately collected waste
Besides the Action plan, the Commission is promoting the transition towards a more resource efficient economy. This is done through changes in the legislation (Eco-design Directive and revised legislative proposals on waste and fertilisers) and through new funding opportunities.
Financial instruments to enable the transition
- Horizon 2020
- A major € 650 million initiative has been launched under Horizon2020 on ‘Industry 2020 and the circular economy’.
- LIFE funding (the EU’s financial instrument supporting environmental, nature conservation and climate action projects throughout the EU)
- The work programme 2014-17 is focused on resource efficiency, green and circular economy.
- The programme will help address the competitiveness and sustainability of EU enterprises, promote entrepreneurship and improve access to finance and to markets.
- European Structural and Investment Fund
- To support programmes for development in EU Regions.
- EIB, National Promotional Banks, Commercial banks
- The EIB is a major partner for circular economy investments in the EU, and has during the last 10 years co-financed projects worth EUR 15 billion.
Additionally, other EU Funds will also be mobilised such as the regional policy programmes to support investments in waste separate collection and recycling infrastructure. Up until 2020, for example, 5.5 billion EUR are available for waste management alone.
Furthermore, the Commission will help with advice and it can also help with public-private collaboration. Moreover, there is the European Innovation Partnerships in place for water and raw materials.
In addition to the financial instruments previously in place, the Juncker investment plan includes new financial instruments for the transition towards a circular economy.
Encouraging applications for European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI)
- EFSI can in particular provide help for small-scale circular economy projects and by supporting innovative projects that lack funding.
- The EFSI can deliver up to EUR 315 billion in additional public and private investment over the next three years.
- The Commission is also examining how to use the Investment Plan possibilities in tackling the financing gap for innovative projects emerging from LIFE funding.
- Furthermore, the Commission, together with the EIB is currently reviewing how best to promote innovative projects in the water sector in the context of EFSI.
The Commission is currently assessing the possibility of launching a platform together with the EIB and National Promotional Banks to further support the financing of the circular economy.
Furthermore, the European Commission and the EIB have engaged in a partnership under the InnovFin Advisory program to raise awareness in the business and financial communities, to assess future financing needs and whether the existing financial instruments, in particular the InnovFin financial products (InnovFin is a EU finance support programme under Horizon 2020, which was previously only available to innovative industrial and technology enterprises), are fit to support the transition to a more circular economy.
In line the with these initiatives, the AER is launching the Regional Innovation Award which targets projects on the circular economy. The applications for the 8th edition of the RIA are open until 15 June 2016. More information about the prize and the application process can be found on the AER website.
We also recommend the Covenant Circular Economy 2022 newsletter for valuable articles and updates on this crucial topic.