How can the chemical industry help the EU turn the circular economy into a viable economic growth strategy?

Cefic President Martin Brudermüller shares his views on circular economy alongside Virginijus Sinkevičius, Commissioner for the environment, oceans and fisheries, Jan Huitema MEP (Renew Europe, Netherlands), and Jocelyn Blériot, executive lead institutions, governments & cities, Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

The circular economy makes economic, European and environmental sense, especially for the chemical industry, which lies at the heart of the solutions we will need, explained Martin Brudermüller, Cefic President, during POLITICO’s Sustainable Future Summit.

During the summit, Martin echoed that the circular economy is a necessity for Europe to meet with the climate targets, but beyond being an obligation moving towards a more circular future it also provides great opportunities for the chemical sector; Circular solutions, like chemical recycling, will have an overall positive impact on the environment over their full life cycle.

“We have to think – Innovation – We all want to make the circular economy a reality and for that we need to work together” to bring innovative technologies like chemical recycling to scale, Brudermüller stated. The need for fostering innovation on a European level was also highlighted by MEP Jan Huitema, who pointed out that a lot of research is done, but “now it’s time to scale up.”

“If the EU is serious about the circular economy it can’t export its waste”, Martin said highlighting the potential in a common EU waste market. He stressed that plastic waste is a serious issue and landfilling makes little sense because the value of the waste is not used. Commissioner Sinkevičius confirmed the Circular Economy Action Plan also looks into how waste can be kept in the loop in Europe and doesn’t become “an exported opportunity”.

Cefic’s President highlighted the collective responsibility of creating a system that allows the circular economy to be developed: “We cannot just launch this to the individual citizens because the system doesn’t allow it, we need to come up with innovative product design – and this is what the chemical industry can drive”, ensuring our products are ‘Safe and Sustainable by Design’ as outlined in the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability.

If you missed this panel discussion at POLITICO’s summit, you can watch the recording here and to learn more from Martin Brudermüller on how the chemical industry can contribute to the circular economy, read his opinion piece in POLITICO..