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Tuesday 26 April 2016

SusChem Stakeholder event to discuss the Circular Economy

In October 2015 the European Technology Platform for Sustainable Chemistry (SusChem) published a position paper on the Circular Economy. You can download the paper here. Since its inception in 2004 SusChem has inspired numerous research and innovation activities that address major European societal issues. SusChem’s solutions are based on sustainable enabling technologies developed by the chemical industry and its partners in academia, research and technology organisations, and other industrial players from a wide variety of different value-chains and sectors. The paper illustrates how many of these technologies are essential to the implementation of a sustainable circular economy.

The position paper develops SusChem’s vision for a functioning circular economy in Europe (and globally) and provides some concrete examples of the high impact contributions that the platform and its partners can make to achieve this essential objective.

A Circular Economy will be the subject of a dedicated panel discussion at the forthcoming SusChem stakeholder event on 16 June and in preparation for the discussion SusChem is seeking your questions and observations on the role of sustainable chemistry in implementing a circular economy.

The SusChem position
SusChem’s position paper has three main messages.

1/ A sustainability-based approach is needed
The integration of all aspects of sustainability over the whole product life-cycle is essential to the development of a circular economy in order to effectively ensure a positive impact on society while optimising environmental impact and maintaining economic growth.

2/ Technology development is required for a sustainable circular economy
A circular economy cannot be achieved only through implementation of new regulations, services and business models.  Advanced technologies are essential to enable a better use of existing resources along the whole life cycle to develop new production and recycling paths – and the expertise of the chemical industry as a material supplier is highly valuable and important here.
In particular SusChem believes that the principle technology developments should take place in the following three areas:
  • Utilisation of sustainable alternative feedstock including secondary raw materials, ligno-cellulosic biomass, waste or industrial gas effluents (including CO2). 
  • Design of sustainable materials enabling eco design of ‘products’ that are easy to recycle while maintaining or improving performance.
  • Improved efficiency for production processes to maximise the use of all resources entering the system including primary and secondary raw materials, water, and energy.
These technologies are more fully described in the SusChem 2015 Strategic Innovation and Research Agenda (SIRA) and should be supported through the appropriate European funding instruments.

3/ Coherence and stability over time for the policy framework is critical for European leadership
To contribute fully to a sustainable economy, the circular economy policy should be developed in coordination with other related policies such as the Energy Union Package. Policy coherence, as well as policy stability over time, is essential to establish a regulatory framework that enables investment in sustainable, resource efficient and innovative technologies in Europe and ensures European leadership in sustainable/clean technologies.

The position paper concludes with five examples that describe a selection of potential contributions by SusChem technology solutions to the circular economy: the use of CO2 as an alternative carbon resource; new composite materials; new catalysts; industrial symbiosis; and biorefineries.

Stakeholder discussions
The full position paper can be downloaded here. SusChem welcomes your questions and observations about the paper and / or current European policy in this area to inform the discussions at our 2016 Stakeholder Event.

Registration for the 2016 SusChem Stakeholder event is now open. The event will take place on 16 June 2016 at the Hotel Bloom in Brussels, Belgium. A dedicated registration website has been set up for the event that includes links to discounted accommodation at the Hotel Bloom.

You are invited to submit your questions and comments and also your expectations for outcomes as part of the registration process. You can submit your questions and comments when you register and there will also be a link for question submission sent with the registration confirmation email.

You can register here. For more information on registration, please contact the SusChem secretariat.

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