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Don’t scrap EU action plan on resource-use, say manufacturers and retailers

news release

Some of the UK’s biggest businesses and trade groups – including Unilever, IKEA, Kingfisher, M&S and EEF, the Manufacturers’ Organisation – have put intense pressure on the European Commission [EC] not to scrap crucial plans to use natural resources much more efficiently today.

It has been strongly rumoured that the EC ‘Circular Economy’ package will be scrapped or heavily watered down, when the Commission announces its work plan for the coming years later today [2pm UK time, Tuesday 16 December 2014].

This has caused outrage amongst leading business groups and civil society. In a letter in today’s Daily Telegraph, 15 organisations have joined with Friends of the Earth and EEF to warn that scrapping the package would be a big backwards step, environmentally and economically.

Also under threat today are European Commission plans to tackle air pollution.

Gareth Stace, Head of Climate and Environment Policy at EEF, the Manufacturers’ Organisation, said:

“The circular economy presents an opportunity for companies to enhance their resource efficiency, shield themselves from resource risks and boost their competitiveness.

“It is not simply something that is driven by environmental concerns, but activity that must be seen within a broader economic context.

“We urge David Cameron to tell the Commission to signal its strong support for the package.”

Julian Kirby, Waste and Resources Campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said:

“Pulling plans to boost Europe’s resource efficiency would put short-termism over the long-term benefit of us all for decades to come.

“Europe is known for understanding that good environmental policy is good for the economy too, but if these plans are scrapped it would bin that reputation and trash years of hard work.

“It’s not too late for President Juncker to put plans for cleaner air and resource efficiency back into his brief – and deliver the lean, sustainable and resilient economy we all want to see.”


Notes to editors:

1. The ‘Circular Economy’ package was developed throughout the previous Commission in extensive consultation with businesses, academics and NGOs. It set out a package of measures to end our throwaway society in favour of “closed loop” approaches that see raw materials continually recycled and reused. The package would give a huge long-term boost to the EU’s wasteful economy and provide hundreds of thousands of jobs.

2. A leaked draft of the workplan suggested that the circular economy package, as well as vital new rules on air quality, would be scrapped.

3. The list of organisations that signed the letter supporting the restoration of the circular economy package are:  IKEA Group;  Kingfisher Plc; Marks and Spencer; Unilever;  EEF, The Manufacturers’ Organisation; Environmental Services Association; Chartered Institute of Waste Management; Viridor; Green Alliance; Resource Association; Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association; Sinvestec LLC; Aldersgate Group; The Environmental Industries Commission; Renewable Energy Association; Veolia UK.

4. MPs have also been raising their concerns. Environmental Audit Committee Chair, Joan Walley, wrote to President of the European Commission, Jean Claude Juncker, to urge him not to drop the proposed zero waste and circular economy package.  Shadow Defra Secretary Maria Eagle has also written to Defra Secretary Liz Truss.

5. Clean air and recycling laws at risk in EU | BBC News.



For press information please contact the Friends of the Earth media team on 020 7566 1649.

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