Integrating nature into circular economy
Natural capital should form an important and integral part of the discussion around implementing the recent EU Circular Economy Package. The Package’s implementation must be done in an integrated way by looking across sectors. These are two of the many take-home messages coming out of the stakeholder event ‘Unwrapping the Circular Economy Package’ that was held in the framework of the Dutch Presidency of the Council of the EU.
Some 320 people, largely representing business and policy from around Europe, gathered in Rotterdam on 25 January 2016. High-level representatives of the EC DG Environment and DG Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, as well as of the Netherlands Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment, hosts of the event, gave introductory presentations on the content of the Package. The Dutch Minister for the Environment, Sharon Dijksma, stressed the importance that the Netherlands attaches to Circular Economy and its commitment to take firm steps to kick off its implementation. The event was set up to collect views and recommendations from the stakeholders on how to help turn the Circular Economy action plan into reality. These recommendations feed into a dedicated policy meeting to be held on 26 January and later in the year into EU Council decisions.
ECNC participated on behalf of the OpenNESS project in a breakout group on nature-based solutions and how these relate to circular economy. This input was based on cases from OpenNESS and the related OPERAs project and the development of Oppla, which may serve as a platform and repository for examples of relevance to circular economy as well. Although the Circular Economy Package is largely focused on product development, packaging and industrial processes, there is a clear role for natural capital to be integrated. Specifically with regard to circular processes in agriculture and forestry, ecosystem services play an essential role.
During the policy day on 1 March, that will be held by EC DG RTD with the OpenNESS and OPERAs projects under the auspices of the EU Presidency, the Dutch EU Presidency will present outcomes of this event.