We all feel like we should know more about the upcoming legislation from the EU. We want to stay up-to-date with new rules to make sure we have enough time to anticipate any important changes. This is not always so easy.
The EU lingo and the minefield of abbreviations are not that accessible. Who has not dreamt about watching a movie when reading about CRD, ESPR, and CSRD?
Well, I have done both for you. I watched the movies & I read the legislation.
In this article ‘EU Legislation Explained through Hollywood Quotes’, I will tell you which movie quotes best explain the upcoming circular economy rules. While I am at it, I will also throw in some recommendations on how to prepare for them.
Circular Economy Action Plan
In this article, we will look into the Circular Economy Action Plan from the European Commission. This is real binge-watch material for everyone with an interest in the circular economy. Some of the more famous actors that play a part in this series include the construction and textile sectors. Besides that, consumers also shine in a supporting role.
Below you can find the 3 hottest proposals that are currently on the table. Attention, these proposals may still change during the negotiations between the European Parliament and the Council.
Ready? Set? Action!
Regulation on Eco-design for Sustainable Products
I’ll be back!
Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Terminator (1984)
Physical goods placed on the market or put into service will need to get terminator status.
This means goods need to:
- Come back: new circular economy requirements would be added on top of the current focus on energy efficiency.
- Go digital: introduction of Digital Product Passports, e.g. with the environmental footprint of a product.
- Become indestructible: Measures to prevent and stop the destruction of unsold consumer goods.
How to prepare for judgment day?
- Keep an eye on the new standards to verify how your products are affected. Review product design and adapt innovation processes in line with the new requirements.
- Explore new circular economy business models & opportunities, e.g. services for remanufacturing, maintenance, recycling, and repair.
- The Digital Product Passport is an important opportunity to inform your clients about the sustainability benefits of your products.
- Map unsold products and how they are discarded. Evaluate possibilities to discard them in a more sustainable way and in line with the waste hierarchy
On a technical note, the proposal boosts the current Ecodesign framework. However, it remains not more than a framework for standard-setting. This means the actual standards still need to be developed.
The European Commission will gradually set requirements per product group. The following goods are high on its to-do list: Textiles, furniture, mattresses, tires, detergents, paints, lubricants, iron, steel, and aluminum. For the construction sector, a complementary standard-setting framework is set up in the Construction Product Regulation.
If you want a more detailed look behind the scenes of this proposal, you can find it here.
Review Unfair Commercial Practices Directive & Consumer Rights Directive
Big mistake! Big! Huge!
Vivian Ward in Pretty Woman (1990)
The European Commission is not amused about how consumers are treated. What is the reason for the dissatisfaction? Products that break too quickly & misleading greenwashing claims.
Now, if there is one thing the EU is serious about, then it is shopping. That is why the Commission launched not one, but two proposals to stand up for consumer rights.
As a result, sellers of consumer goods will need to treat their customers better by:
- Providing info on whether products are going to break down within two years.
- Indicating how easy products are to repair.
- Stopping all the greenwashing.
- Using verified sustainability labels.
How can you make sure your sales & marketing teams don’t upset sustainable consumers?
- Review current communication practices to ensure the required transparency on durability and reparability
- Review current sustainability claims to ensure all communication is trustworthy
- Review current communication to ensure transparency on early obsolescence
- Review current use of labels
You can find the full script of the directive here.
Review Waste Shipment Regulation
Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.
Michael Corleone in The Godfather Part II (1974)
Waste is becoming public enemy number one. This brings waste treatment & shipment high on the agenda. The European Commission wants to keep a closer eye on what is happening with it.
Interestingly, this does not only stem from environmental concerns. Mafia is all mixed up in waste treatment. This makes this proposal unique in that it both implements the EU’s Green Deal Strategy and its Organised Crime Strategy!
How could our waste be kept closer?
- Waste exports going to non-OECD countries have to be green-listed
- EU waste exporting companies would need to demonstrate through audits that the waste will be treated in an environmentally sound manner abroad
- Efficient circulation in the EU of waste as a resource (digitalisation, fast-track procedures, etc.)
- Action to mitigate waste trafficking
These changes will mainly affect the export of “green-listed” (non-hazardous) waste. Ferrous metal, non-ferrous metal, and paper waste represent the highest share of waste currently exported outside the EU.
The proposal is a good opportunity to review your waste policy & identify opportunities for waste reduction/recycling. You might also want to reach out to your waste management suppliers.
Willem Roekens, consultant at TheRockGroup