Estonian Circular Economy Industries Association: Estonia should consider the Green Deal and principles of circular economy when making investments to recover the economy
Rebuilding our economy after the novel coronavirus should be based on more sustainable choices to better maintain and value our resources and ensure sustainable socio-economic development. The Estonian Circular Economy Industries Association holds the opinion that current investments should be made with the Circular Economy Action Plan and the principles of the European Green Deal in mind. The Estonian Circular Economy Industries Association welcomes discussions on how to integrate the principles of the European Green Deal and the Circular Economy Action Plan into recovering the economy.
According to Kalle Kikas, Chairman of the Board of the Estonian Circular Economy Industries Association, we should consider the principles of the European Green Deal and the Circular Economy Action Plan when making investments. This applies particularly to the state’s contributions to entrepreneurship. ‘Circular economy and environmental protection are not one-time campaigns or phenomena that can be ignored because of the fear caused by the virus. Now, when we start rebuilding our economies and countries are making extensive one-time or long-term plans for how to recover the economy, we have the perfect chance to learn from our past and think of the future by investing in green and circular economy,’ said Kalle Kikas.
‘Reuse and recovery of materials provides a way to save money and protect the environment. Therefore, we call upon Estonian politicians to discuss the EU Green Deal, the Circular Economy Action Plan, and the joint statement of ministers of the environment of the EU. Namely, ministers of the environment of 13 EU Member States have requested that when countries begin to revive the economy, the European Green Deal must be taken into consideration,’ said Margit Rüütelmann, CEO of the Estonian Circular Economy Industries Association.
There is an obvious connection between the changing climate, loss of biodiversity, environmental protection, and wasting resources. ‘If we base our decisions on short-term benefits and refuse to utilise the opportunity to implement the large-scale changes that society expects, these decisions will be very short-sighted. This is why the members of the Circular Economy Industries Association call upon the state and other entrepreneurs to discuss how to make smart investments in the current situation and direct funds to novel technological developments,’ Margit Rüütelmann added.
There is a reminder at the beginning of the new Circular Economy Action Plan adopted by the European Commission in March: if we simply picked up where we left off and continued to rely solely on fossil fuels and non-renewable natural resources within the framework of the extensive development model, then by 2050, the world would be using resources as if it had three planets to make use of. ‘We do not have three planets. We are facing an opportunity to change general behavioural patterns, as nations are deliberating new investments and looking for ways to stimulate the economy. The EU will also invest in the economy. This means that now is the perfect time to stimulate a circular economy and invest in innovative developments and technologies, which, in turn, reduces the carbon footprint of products throughout their useful life and significantly extends the period of use of materials already in circulation,’ Margit Rüütelmann specified.
‘The Estonian Circular Economy Industries Association has repeatedly emphasised that circular economy begins with the design of products and their packaging. The more complex the packaging is and the more materials it is made of, the more difficult it is to recycle them later – sometimes, it is actually impossible. Considering the fact that the world is changing due to the current crisis and manufacturing needs to be reorganised to a significant extent, we find it important to pay attention to those aspects. When distributing national support funds, one of the criteria should be the extent to which the products and their packaging consider the later possibility of recycling,’ Margit Rüütelmann explained.
Pursuant to the Circular Economy Action Plan, the European Union plans to regulate certain areas of production more to increase the content of recycled materials in their products or to facilitate recycling possibilities and technologies allowing for high-quality recycling of materials in general. Read more: The new Circular Economy Action Plan for a cleaner and more competitive Europe.