Yesterday (11 October) at its meeting in Luxembourg the Council of the European Union on Competitiveness endorsed the launch of the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on Raw Materials and called on the European Commission to develop and finalise the partnership’s Strategic Implementation Plan by the end of 2013. SusChem is part of the consortium that developed the proposal for the EIP. The Raw Materials EIP will support the development of innovative technologies, possible regulatory measures and standardisation and public procurement initiatives.
“SusChem is very happy to see the endorsement of the EIP,” said Antonia Morales Perez, Innovation Manager at Cefic, who has coordinated the ETP’s work in this area. “SusChem has been heavily involved in the process of the preparation of the EIP, in particular leading the work package on substitution of raw materials. However many other aspects of the partnership are also of great interest for us including extraction and recycling activities. Policy and international cooperation complement the topics to be further developed in the Strategic Implementation Plan.”
SusChem is also a member of the Alliance 4 Materials (A4M) organisation that brings together a number of European Technology Platforms with a strong materials agenda to collaborate and coordinate activities.
Conclusions The Council conclusions welcomed the European Commission’s Communication entitled "Making raw materials available for Europe’s future wellbeing ─ Proposal for a European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on Raw Materials" that was launched at the end of February this year.
The EIP is seen as a key contribution to the successful implementation of the Innovation Union, the Integrated Industrial Policy for the Globalisation Era, and the Resource-Efficient Flagship initiatives.
The Council is also looking for the Commission to appoint representatives to the High-level Steering Group that will oversee the Raw Materials EIP that represent a good balance between industry, environment and research, including all relevant fields of expertise in the raw materials value chain. The Commission will report on progress in developing the Raw Materials EIP by the end of July 2013.
Chemical innovation is key Our modern society is dependant on a range of raw materials, including industrial minerals and metals used in high technology applications that support our lifestyle and infrastructures. But many of these raw materials are not easily available or only found in areas geographically remote from Europe. All are an essentially finite resource: we only have one planet to live on.
Four sustainable solution strategies can contribute to improving the future security of supply for these raw materials. The activities are collectively known as the ‘4Rs’:
- Reduce – use less of the material to deliver the same product effect
- Reuse – enable the recovery of a material to deliver the same effect repeatedly
- Recycle – enable the recovery if a material to be reprocessed with no loss in value
- Replace – substitute with a material, process, technology or business model that delivers the same (or better) effect
Any new solution should also reduce the overall environmental impact and be safe to users and consumers.
All these solutions will require sustainable chemistry to achieve them and will contribute to the medium to long term security of supply for raw materials in Europe. They will also boost resource efficiency and develop new business areas such as advanced recycling processes.
KETs The Council conclusions also strongly endorsed the Commission’s strategy on Key Enabling Technologies (KETs) and its Communication entitled "A European strategy for Key Enabling Technologies ─ A bridge to growth and jobs". This policy area is also of intense interest for SusChem and a critical element for the future competitiveness of Europe.