Welcome back to Publyon’s monthly Sustainability Newsletter. This month we delve into the EU’s Waste Framework Directive, published during the summer break. Additionally, we delve into sustainable trade practices at the EU level. Last but not least, we are delighted to share some recommended readings, events, and opportunities to connect with our team at Brussels events.
As September begins, things are picking up in Brussels. The EU’s summer recess is over, and Brussels is getting back to business as usual. We’re here to keep you in the loop with all the latest updates and insights from the world of EU affairs. Find below the main updates to keep in mind as we go “back to school”:
- Commissioner in charge of climate action Frans Timmermans resigned and will be replaced by Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra.
- Commissioner President Ursula von der Leyen will deliver its State of the Union address on 13 September this year. She will outline the main priorities and flagship initiatives for the year to come.
- Expect industries’ manifestoes this month, laying out their wish lists ahead of the EU elections next year.
- Waste Framework Directive (read below in our policy update) was published in July. The European Parliament will soon appoint Rapporteurs and Council will kick-off its work as well.
- The Commission will implement the change to the Innovation Fund as agreed in the EU ETS. The Innovation Fund is – the largest EU fund seeking to reduce GHG emissions.
- The European Commission is gathering feedback on its framework that sets out a to calculate and report transport-related greenhouse gas emissions. The European Commission is gathering feedback on how to calculate and report transport-related greenhouse gas emissions.
- The Commission is expected to publish several proposals, on Animal Welfare, Food Labelling and the REACH revision- what is REACH I know , but not al readersThe Commission is expected to publish several proposals, on Animal Welfare, Food Labelling and the Regulation on the registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemicals.
Waste Framework Directive
The Waste Framework Directive introduces basic principles for waste management. It aims to protect human health and the environment by preventing and reducing waste, and by promoting recycling and other forms of waste recovery.
The directive defines waste as any substance or object that the holder discards or intends or is required to discard. It distinguishes between different types of waste, and specifies the order in which they should be managed and disposed of.
The waste hierarchy is a key concept in the directive. It prioritizes waste prevention, followed by preparing for reuse, recycling, other recovery (such as energy recovery), and as a last resort, disposal (such as landfilling or incineration).
The Waste Framework Directive has been revised several times since it was first adopted in 1991. The latest revision, which came into force in 2018, strengthens the directive’s requirements for waste prevention and recycling.
On 5 July, the European Commission proposed a revision of the Waste Framework Directive. The revision seeks to stimulate Member States in respecting their often-unmet waste reduction targets and promote sustainability and circularity.
The directive also introduces several key principles:
- The polluter pays principle: This principle states that the person or organisation that generates waste should bear the costs of its management.
- The extended producer responsibility (EPR): This principle requires producers to take responsibility for the waste that their products generate, even after the products have been sold.
For example, the Directive:
- Seeks to respond to the problem of illegal exports of textile waste to countries that are insufficiently equipped to manage it.
- Obliges Member States to also achieve a 10% reduction in food waste by 2030 in the processing and manufacturing stages, and a 30% reduction per capita when considering both retail and consumption together.
What will this mean for your business?
The revised Framework includes mandatory and harmonised Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) schemes for textiles in all EU Member States, which your business will have to comply with. Next to these new obligations, the proposal will decide on the level of the financial contributions of textile producers. These contributions will be based on the environmental performance and circularity of your textile products (“eco-modulation”).
Finally, the proposal seeks to boost research and development in circular technologies for the textile sector. This translates to incentivisation of innovative businesses and social enterprises that are operating to collect, sort, reuse and recycle textile products, as well as develop circular design, which your business could benefit from.
Until 26 October, your business can still submit feedback on the proposed revision to the European Commission, after which the legislative process will officially start. No dates have yet been determined within the European Parliament and the Council of the EU for the discussion of the proposal.
However, it has been decided that the Parliamentary Committee on the Environment (ENVI), under the lead of shadow rapporteur Dace Melbārde (EPP, Latvia), would take up the responsibility for the file, with the support of the opinion of the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture (AGRI).
Radboud has over 15 years of experience in public affairs and has established a broad network in Brussels and the EU institutions. Having worked for clients in the non-profit and private sectors, he has a keen understanding of how to build coalitions across sectors and drive policy change. Radboud enjoys developing an appealing corporate story with clients.
Expert insights: Sustainable EU Trade Policy unveiled
The European Union (EU) is committed to promoting sustainable trade. This means ensuring that trade agreements and other trade policies are aligned with the goals of sustainable development, such as climate action, environmental protection, and social justice.
The EU is currently negotiating a number of sustainable trade policy files. These files cover a wide range of issues, including:
- Climate change: The EU is seeking to include provisions on climate change in all of its trade agreements. This includes commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to promote the transition to a low-carbon economy.
- Labor rights: The EU is also seeking to include provisions on labor rights in its trade agreements. This includes commitments to respect fundamental labor rights, such as the right to freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining.
- Environmental protection: The EU is also seeking to include provisions on environmental protection in its trade agreements. This includes commitments to protect the environment and to promote sustainable production and consumption.
In this interview, we dive into the world of sustainable EU trade policy. The European Union (EU) has been spearheading sustainability efforts in its trade relations with countries beyond its borders. In this edition, we speak to our expert Radboud Reijn who will share insights on the latest developments. He will also offer his expertise to help businesses align their operations with these forthcoming trade policies. Let’s get started!
What’s the latest scoop on sustainable EU trade policy?
The European Commission has been working diligently to enhance sustainable trade with countries outside the EU through the development of new Free Trade Agreements (FTA). This would unlock key markets for EU companies, including MERCOSUR (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay) and India. From due diligence in supply chains to tackling emissions through the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) and combating deforestation, the EU is actively raising the bar on international sustainability standards.
However, the EU is getting a lot of pushback on their sustainable trade ambitions as trade partners view them as protectionist.
How will these sustainability-driven policies impact businesses operating within and beyond the EU?
The impact of the EU’s sustainable trade policy on EU companies that work in international trade could be significant. Some of the potential impacts include:
- Increased costs: Companies may face increased costs as they comply with new sustainability requirements. This could include the cost of developing and implementing new sustainability policies and practices, as well as the cost of meeting new environmental and labor standards.
- New market opportunities: Companies may also have new market opportunities as they target consumers who are increasingly interested in sustainable products and services. This could lead to increased sales and profits for companies that are able to meet the demand for sustainable goods and services.
- Increased competition: Companies may face increased competition from companies in other countries that have lower sustainability standards. This could make it more difficult for EU companies to compete in international markets.
- Reputational risks: Companies that do not comply with sustainability standards could face reputational risks. This could lead to consumer boycotts, negative media coverage, and financial losses.
Here are some specific examples of how the EU’s sustainable trade policy could impact businesses:
- A company that imports coffee beans from a developing country may need to ensure that the beans are produced in a sustainable way.
- A company that manufactures clothing may need to use sustainable materials, such as organic cotton, and to ensure that its factories meet environmental and labor standards.
- A company that sells food products may need to label its products with information about their sustainability, such as the carbon footprint of the product.
How can businesses prepare for upcoming renewed trade rules?
Brace yourselves, businesses! The implications of these policies are significant. Adhering to sustainability standards will provide companies with a competitive edge and foster customer loyalty from those who prioritize ethical practices. Businesses will need to adapt their supply chains, manufacturing processes, and sourcing strategies to meet these evolving requirements. Embracing sustainability not only ensures compliance with EU regulations but also contributes to global efforts in combating climate change and promoting responsible consumption.
How can businesses gear up to tackle the complexities of these newly developed trade policies?
Don’t fret, we’ve got you covered! Publyon, is here to lend a helping hand. With their extensive knowledge and experience in EU trade policies and sustainability standards, they are the go-to consultant for navigating these waters. Publyon offers strategic advice, conducts sustainability audits, and assists businesses in implementing responsible practices aligned with EU standards.
The EU’s sustainable trade policy journey continues to gain momentum, promising exciting opportunities and challenges for businesses. Embrace sustainability, stay ahead of the curve, and contribute to a greener future while reaping the rewards of an environmentally conscious marketplace.
Where can you run into our team?
- Laura and Eliza would be thrilled to discuss packaging and circular economy with you at the rEUse event organized by New Era, promoting reusable packaging.
- Come discuss the role that storage has to play in Europe’s future energy system with Arnaud, our sustainable energy expert on 21 September, at Euractiv’s event on the topic.
- Join Maria, our agricultural policy expert, at the interactive and in-person workshop An Innovation Agenda for the Future Monitoring of the CAP on 6 September.
- Maria will be also attending the EPP discussion European Farmers’ Deal: EPP Vision for Agriculture in Europe hosted in the European Parliament by MEPs Siegfried Mureșan, Norbert Lins and Herbert Dorfmann on 19 September.
Hi, my name is Eliza and I am curating this newsletter to bring Brussels’ main sustainability insights to your inbox, every month. Do not hesitate to reach out should you need more information on the newsletter’s content or if you have suggestions for our next editions.Contact