EuroCommerce sees Circular Economy Package as a good start towards a sustainable European future. The European Commission published its package, “Closing the loop – An EU Action Plan for the Circular Economy”.
EuroCommerce Director-General Christian Verschueren said: “The retail and wholesale sector has been active in reducing its environmental footprint, and reducing waste in all parts of the supply chain. EuroCommerce fully supports the objectives of the package as a good starting point on the path to a circular economy. This is not to say that retailers and wholesalers, in particular small businesses, will not face some difficult challenges, and we will look to the Commission to take account of their needs in the transition to a circular economy”.
Overall, we are pleased to see that the Commission has taken on board in their proposals many of the comments we made and the actions our members have already taken which anticipate those proposals. Leading retailers and wholesalers are creating imaginative and innovative ways of, for example, designing their stores to use less energy and more renewables, using lorries that run on the biogas produced on site. In a number of member states there has been a 20% reduction in CO2 emissions linked to energy consumption and a 20.4% reduction in CO2 emissions linked to refrigerants.
Companies on the Board of the Consumer Goods Forum have committed to reduce food waste by 50% within their operations by 2025, i.e. 5 years before the date set out in the Commission proposal and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. EuroCommerce and its members are fully aligned with the Commission proposal to review the existing rules on donating to food banks and using unsold food as a resource in animal feed.
EuroCommerce also agrees with the principle of EPRs (Extended Producer Responsibility) as an effective tool for encouraging recycling. At present, performance in this area differs significantly between member states. We believe, however, that extending these schemes to new product groups should be carefully examined to see if this makes sense.
The retail and wholesale sector will be engaging with decision-makers and stakeholders when the proposals in the package get to be discussed. We will focus particularly on issues such as eco-design and planned obsolescence, and will want to discuss how to ensure that a move to new business models, for instance moving from purchase to renting or leasing products, can be designed to ensure that consumers continue to get value for money and convenience for the products and services they use every day.
EuroCommerce is the principal European organisation representing the retail and wholesale sector. It embraces national associations in 31 countries and 5.4 million companies, both leading multinational retailers such as Carrefour, Ikea, Metro and Tesco and many small family operations. Retail and wholesale provide a link between producers and 500 million European consumers over a billion times a day. It generates 1 in 7 jobs, providing a varied career for 29 million Europeans, many of them young people. It also supports millions of further jobs throughout the supply chain, from small local suppliers to international businesses.