<Video> The bioeconomy starts here!
The Bioeconomy offers Europe a unique opportunity to address complex inter-connected challenges, while achieving economic growth. It can assist Europe in making the transition to a more resource efficient society that relies more strongly on renewable biological resources to satisfy consumers’ needs, industry demand and tackle climate change. This short introductory video outlines the main features of the bioeconomy.
European Sustainable Phosphorous Platform (ESPP)
Phosphorus is a non-renewable resource, non-substitutable for food production, essential for agriculture and directly linked to food security, as well as being important in a range of other industrial and technical uses. The world’s mineral phosphate resources are finite, but there is debate about their extent and extractability and about their geographical concentration. However, with ongoing international pressure on raw materials and food production, the need for phosphorus stewardship will endure. At the same time, phosphorus losses pose major environmental issues. Phosphorus is the principal substance contributing to eutrophication and surface water quality failure in much of Europe, whilst Europe’s population eats around twice as much phosphorus as is required for good health.
ESPP ensures knowledge sharing, experience transfer and networking for opportunities in the field of phosphorus management, facilitates discussion between the market, stakeholders and regulators, addresses regulatory obstacles, contributes to policy proposals, circulates information by newsletters, website, conferences and publications, promotes Platform Members’ activities, and contributes to define a long-term vision for phosphorus sustainability in Europe.
Link to 'European Sustainable Phosphorous Platform (ESPP)'
<Report> Nowcasting of and target setting for resource efficiency indicators
Ecorys, March 2013
This study was commissioned by DG Environment to assess the potential for nowcasting and early estimate of resource efficiency indicators. it assessed 66 indicators, selected from the topics and annexes of the Roadmap for a Resource Efficient Europe (RERM) and other sources. The assessment included a detailed classification of the indicator, and assessment of the indicators potential for nowcasting and an assessment of the relevance and suitability of the indicator to environmental sustainability thresholds and target setting. Finally, early estimates and nowcasts were also carried out for a selection of material flow indicators.
By advancing the timeliness of indicators and identifying potential operational environmental sustainability thresholds (ESTs), this study also contributes to the beyond GDP Roadmap outlined in the 2009 European Commission Communication “GDP and beyond: Measuring progress in a changing world”. In this communication the Commission commits itself to “…develop more inclusive indicators that provide a more reliable knowledge base for better public debate and policy-making. The Commission intends to cooperate with stakeholders and partners to develop indicators that are internationally recognised and implemented.” The beyond GDP Roadmap identifies five key actions to improve our indicators of progress in ways that meet citizens’ concerns and make the most of new technical and political developments.
Link to 'Nowcasting of and target setting for resource efficiency indicators'
<Video> Towards a resource efficient Europe – EPR for packaging waste
EurActiv, March 2014
The European Commission is reviewing European Waste legislation in line with the EU Resource Efficiency objectives. This review includes a revision of the waste management targets and Extended producer Responsibility (EPR) as one key policy tool to achieve existing and higher recycling and recovery targets for packaging waste.
This stakeholder conference will draw success factors of EPR for packaging waste with the aim to clarify EPR and the role of obliged industry and other key stakeholders working together towards more transparent and cost-effective EPR schemes.
<Report> Remanufacturing: towards a resource efficient economy
All-Party Parliamentary Sustainable Resource Group, March 2014
Remanufacturing presents a huge financial and environmental opportunity for the UK. Estimates suggest that the value of remanufacturing in the UK is £2.4 billion, with the potential to increase to £5.6 billion alongside the creation of thousands of skilled jobs. Further, the remanufacturing of products results in reduced greenhouse gas emissions, material use and water consumption when compared to the manufacture of new products. Remanufacturing can be considered one element of the wider ‘circular economy’, where products and components are designed, made and reused. However due to the opportunity that remanufacturing presents to the UK’s economy it will be the sole focus of this paper.
There is no universally accepted definition of remanufacturing and there are widespread market and regulatory barriers which impede its uptake. This briefing paper identifies the opportunities and challenges relating to remanufacturing and makes recommendations to Government as to how it can overcome these.
Link to 'Remanufacturing: towards a resource efficient economy'
<Video> Beverage Carton Recycling in Europe
ACE - The Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment, March 2014
Beverage cartons are made of paper covered with thin layers of plastic and aluminium. All three of these material components can be recycled or recovered for energy. In most European countries, beverage cartons are collected from households or from collection points nearby. Over 20 paper mills recycle beverage cartons in Europe. Currently about 40% of beverage cartons are recycled in paper mills in Europe. Recycling beverage cartons saves resources and avoids carbon emissions from landfills. It drives innovation in recycling technologies and sustains jobs in Europe.
Link to 'Beverage Carton Recycling in Europe'
<Report> Waste – Europe’s Untapped Resource – An Assessment of Advanced Biofuels from Wastes & Residues
ICCT, IEEP, ECF, NNFCC, February 2104
This report highlights a number of key findings:
• If all the wastes and residues that are sustainably available in the European Union were converted only to biofuels, this could supply 16 per cent of road transport fuel in 2030. (Technical potential).
• If advanced biofuels from wastes and residues are sourced sustainably, they can deliver GHG savings well in excess of 60 per cent, even when taking a full lifecycle approach.
• Safeguards would be needed to ensure this resource is developed sustainably, including sustainable land management practices that maintain carbon balances and safeguard biodiversity, water resources and soil functionality.
• If this resource were utilized to its full technical potential, up to €15 billion of additional revenues would flow into the rural economy annually and up to 300,000 additional jobs would be created by 2030.
• While some combinations of feedstock and technology will require short-term incentives, others are close to being competitive and require little more than policy certainty.
Link to 'Waste – Europe’s Untapped Resource – An Assessment of Advanced Biofuels from Wastes & Residues'
<Report> What does the Circular Economy mean to Small and Medium sized businesses in Europe?
FUSIONObservatory, February 2014
FUSION project: co-funded by Interreg 2 Seas
The FUSION Observatory has recently completed a survey of 286 companies in France, Belgium and the UK to hear their views on the circular economy. All of the companies questioned have shown a previous interest or are involved in the green economy and the majority of them are SMEs. More than 50% of those questioned had heard of the term and nearly 10% were thinking about it in the context of their business. They have ideas on how they could maximise the benefits of a circular economy and how it could be made more relevant to their companies.
Link to 'What does the Circular Economy mean to Small and Medium sized businesses in Europe?'
Link to 'http://bsk-cic.co.uk/fusion-observatory'
<Report> Study on economic and social benefits of environmental protection and resource efficiency related to the European Semester
European Commission, February 2014
This study assesses various links between environmental and economic policy, such as the macro-economic impact of floods, best practices in supporting small and medium-sized enterprises focusing on resource efficiency and environmental expenditure in all Member States. For example, the estimated cost of damage from flooding in the European Union (EU) during the 2002-2013 period is €150 billion – with flood defence measures costing some six to eight times less than the damage caused by flooding, investment is regarded as highly effective. Furthermore, the benefits of investing in green infrastructure, such as restoring natural features to help manage and store flood water, include better outcomes for biodiversity and could help reduce construction costs.
The study will feed into the European Semester, a mechanism established in 2010 to improve the coordination of economic policies in EU countries. It represents an opportunity to show that the environment is part of the solution to the economic and financial crisis, and, conversely, that macroeconomic instruments can also support environmental objectives.
Link to 'Study on economic and social benefits of environmental protection and resource efficiency related to the European Semester'
<Report> Critical materials for the transition to a 100% sustainable energy future
WWF, February 2014
This study examines whether non-energy raw material supply bottlenecks could occur in the transition to a fully sustainable energy system. Such a transition is represented in The Energy Report, published in 2011 by WWF and Ecofys, which shows a way to almost 100% renewable energy by 2050 coupled with strong energy efficiency efforts in all sectors.
The development of a fully sustainable energy system will definitely lead to a change of material demands compared to a business-as-usual development of the conventional energy system. However, and strongly depending on overall successes in material, resource and energy efficiency, it remains to be seen whether the entire package of technologies belonging to a 100% sustainable renewable energy scenario actually leads to a higher net resource demand. This study investigates what material supply bottlenecks may occur in a transition to a 100% sustainable energy system, and how these bottlenecks can be overcome. It bases its calculations on the 100% sustainable energy scenario presented in The Energy Report (TER), a study produced by WWF and Ecofys in 2011.
Link to 'Critical materials for the transition to a 100% sustainable energy future'