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Circular Economy Stakeholder Conference 2022

This year’s Circular Economy Stakeholder Conference (March 1 & 2) – hosted by the French Presidency, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and the European Commission – focused explicitly on sustainable products for sustainable consumption. Numerous international stakeholders from various areas of the circular economy provided valuable insights into current developments regarding the feasibility of advancing the transition to a global circular economy approach.

The first day of the conference primarily targeted discussions about making sustainable products a reality, as well as on consumer behaviour and different possibilities on boosting sustainable consumption. Three parallel sessions were held on the subjects of scaling up the circular economy for ambitious climate objectives, advancing on the plastics agenda with a focus on biobased and biodegradable plastics, as well as boosting the EU market for secondary raw materials and recyclates. Especially the construction sector must fastly transition to net zero emissions by creating business realities where materials with lower emissions are more attractive to the market. In the virtual Networking Village, participants had the opportunity to meet exhibitors in ten thematically different booths. In the virtual booth “Circular Cities & Innovation”, our Circular Flooring project was presented to give participants an insight into current developments in a practical context.

The second day focused on the actual implementation of the current and ongoing circular economy policy framework by stakeholders like employers, trade unions and other civil society organisations. Different thematical workshops e.g. on food waste, food systems and bioeconomy, as well as on cities and regions, circular procurement, circular construction and infrastructure and economic incentives allowed for active engagement of the audience. Cillian Lohan, Vice-president of the EESC concluded the event, stressing the need to move to a fully circular economy and away from fossil-fuel based actions while ensuring that sustainability becomes a societal value with legitimate and credible product labels.

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