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Inexperienced is the brand new Black (Friday): Why the EU must embrace a round financial system | View

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_The opinions expressed on this article are these of the writer and don’t characterize in any approach the editorial place of Euronews.
_
In Europe, we dwell in a linear financial system. It’s a conventional mannequin we’re all accustomed to the place we take, make and create waste.

Uncooked supplies are collected and remodeled into merchandise shoppers use, till we ultimately discard them, unaware (or maybe blissfully ignorant) of the injury being achieved to the atmosphere.

Let’s face it, we’re hooked on novelty, whether or not it is garments, that new little bit of tech or an upgraded kitchen equipment, we will’t resist a sale.

An estimated 6.6 million tons of textiles are purchased yearly within the EU, with 5.8 million tons thrown away over the identical interval – that’s about 11.3 kilograms per particular person.

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Nothing epitomises our present cycle greater than the current Black Friday gross sales.

Regardless of the price of residing disaster, the place some individuals are having to decide on between heating and consuming, this yr’s offers got here again stronger than ever. Hundreds of thousands of flash gross sales noticed loud ad campaigns flooding our screens and dominating our excessive streets. Merely put, overproduction breeds overconsumption.

And what accompanies all these rushed, discounted purchases? Tons and plenty of packaging. Because the COVID pandemic took maintain, on-line buying charges surged by 129% week on week within the UK and Europe.

Black Friday highlights greater than ever our must shift to a round financial system, the place we expect extra about what we devour and the way we will reuse the supplies and merchandise we have already got within the system.

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The main target ought to be on worth creation, implementing a “scale back, reuse, recycle” waste administration system and optimising sources – as a substitute of churning out newer and newer merchandise in but extra packaging.

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On a small scale, we see 2022 Earthshot Prize finalist Notpla disrupting the business by producing an alternative choice to plastic packaging made out of seaweed. We’d not be there but on a world stage however there may be extra our leaders can do from the highest down to assist our financial system grow to be extra round.

This week we are going to see the discharge of the European Fee’s November Round Financial system Package deal, which ought to result in progress within the EU.

It’s set to incorporate insurance policies which mandate a minimal quantity of recycled materials in new packaging, in addition to introducing a brand new “eco-design” standards to make merchandise extra simply recyclable.

The package deal can also be more likely to tackle ‘Inexperienced Claims’ put ahead by corporations, in an effort to sort out greenwashing.

This could contain implementing carbon accounting into the worth chain. At the moment, there aren’t any clear metrics on how a lot carbon is used to create a product, and a harmonised framework with clear definitions would assist this.

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It’s vital the European Fee will get this proper.

Earlier pilot programmes just like the Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) put ahead a technique for modelling the emissions and waste streams related to a product all through its life cycle.

However with a scarcity of clear information, all these methodologies may be extremely problematic. In a worst-case situation, they will really put corporations off round enterprise fashions as they’re unintentionally penalised.

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This can be a important second to include better circularity in our financial system, and it will possibly solely occur by embedding insurance policies at a methods stage.

It’s not simply shoppers who need to see issues change, progressive companies are additionally calling for better ambition across the round financial system.

Analysis from CLG Europe’s Taskforce just lately referred to as for a better hyperlink between stakeholders and legislators in the case of making selections, and pushed for demand-side coverage on sustainable supplies to be able to enhance enterprise confidence.

The analysis highlights that constructing a round financial system should be given the required consideration and assist it requires, in order that financial exercise and environmental and societal well-being may be efficiently built-in. Companies say a gradual transition is already occurring, however extra bold coverage is required to speed up this shift.

For the sake of our planet, it’s key we embrace the ideas of a round financial system.

Our present linear mannequin isn’t sustainable, and with out motion, we is not going to solely fail to fulfill our local weather targets – we are going to run out of sources for the subsequent era.

Tahmid Chowdhury runs the Taskforce for Local weather Impartial and Round Supplies on the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Management (CISL).

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