Critical lever: Sustainability Council urges greater push towards circular economy at national and European level

Berlin, 5 October 2021 – “The policy shift from a linear to a circular economic system is of crucial importance for the achievement of sustainability goals. That makes the circular economy a critical lever for the upcoming transformation”, said Dr Werner Schnappauf, Chairman of the German Council for Sustainable Development (RNE), to mark today’s publication of the Council’s statement on the circular economy (German only).

“To achieve this, our economic system moving forward must be aligned with the entire value-creation process and seek to create closed resource cycles”, explained Schnappauf. Despite its already established high leverage effect, the circular economy has yet to take the spotlight in the political sphere. And yet a strategic approach to circularity is urgently needed and should be developed, managed and implemented in a cross-departmental capacity, insists the Sustainability Council.

“The circular economy will fundamentally change the way we produce and consume today. That’s why the associated processes of structural change and their social impacts also have to be given more focus as a matter of urgency. And let’s not forget that the transformation processes towards the circular economy also go hand in hand with climate neutrality”, said Gunda Röstel, member of the Council for Sustainable Development and managing director of the city drainage service Stadtentwässerung Dresden GmbH.

In its statement “The Circular Economy: Leveraging a Sustainable Transformation”, published today, the RNE lists the following 13 recommendations for action:

  1. Adjust the objective – strive for absolute reduction of primary raw material consumption
  2. Establish a policy mix of incentives, support measures and regulations for management
  3. Anticipate structural change processes and further develop social safeguarding instruments
  4. Set standards and norms, avoid distortion of competition
  5. Promote transparency through coherent sustainability reporting and strengthen the circular economy in international trade
  6. Utilise economic opportunities, support sound business models for a circular economy
  7. Keep recyclability in mind throughout the whole product lifecycle, starting with product design
  8. Reinforce manufacturer responsibility across the board
  9. Avoid pollutant inputs in ecosystems
  10. Give consumers more freedom of choice and implement measures to win acceptance
  11. Expand education and research around the circular economy
  12. Make circularity the foundation of a sustainable European economy
  13. Strengthen international partnerships and the transfer of technology

You can read the full statement here (German only).

Media Relations:

Marijke Eschenbach
German Council for Sustainable Development
Office c/o GIZ GmbH
Potsdamer Platz 10
D-10785 Berlin
Telephone: +49 (0)30 338424-233
E-Mail: marijke.eschenbach@nachhaltigkeitsrat.de