How to make the Circular Economy happen – Retailers’ approach
As part of the Circular Economy measures planned for this year, the European Commission is currently drafting an EU Plastics Strategy. With the use of plastics in the EU growing steadily, less than 25% of collected plastic waste being recycled and about 50% going to landfill, the challenges are evident.
European Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen, retailers, as well as other key decision-makers and stakeholders gathered at the Retail Forum for Sustainability annual event to discuss how retailers can contribute to addressing these challenges. Expert organisations such as the Ellen MacArthur Foundation shed their own insights not only on possible solutions, but also on how to overcome barriers to scaling innovations in plastics.
“For a successful EU Plastics Strategy and implementation within the Circular Economy, it is important that all actors across the value chain take responsibility and make their contribution to address key issues related to plastics. No one single actor can achieve impact at scale alone, but the progressive retailers who participated in the Retail Forum today are keen to demonstrate their commitment”, added Susanne Czech, Director-General, ERRT.
By minimising plastic waste in supply chains, promoting recycling, increasing the use of recycled content in their products where this makes environmental sense, and prioritising the use of renewable materials, retailers have already made good progress. However, another key challenge for a successful Circular Economy transition is engaging with consumers.
“Retailers have a key role to play in sharing the benefits of the Circular Economy as millions of European consumers buy their products in our stores every single day, and they are increasingly interested in the environmental impact of these products. European consumers have the opportunity to lead the transformation through their choices and retailers are already actively informing and engaging consumers by, for example, offering them responsibly sourced products, packaging with reduced environmental impact, providing them with tips on how to store food and cook with left-overs to reduce food waste, as well as organising consumer information campaigns on energy efficient products.” said Adela Torres Calatayud, Environment Committee Chair, EuroCommerce and Environment Manager, Mercadona.
• Overview of the Retail Environmental Action Programme (REAP) signatories’ commitments: REAP database of actions and commitments
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