Environmental labelling, information and management schemes are central to the circular economy

_EcoAP DAY I_3Eco-innovation, as well as environmental labels, information and management schemes are essential to get Europe on the path to a circular economy. This was the primary conclusion of the 18th European Forum on Eco-innovation held in Barcelona, on 20-21 May. Over 300 stakeholders from across Europe came together to make recommendations on what the European Commission should consider in its current re-working of the circular economy strategy and concurrent review of the EU Ecolabel and the Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS).

PRACSIS is behind the great success of this 18th edition, the one with the highest attendance and media coverage so far. Barcelona hosted a multi-event forum which included the ceremony to announce the winners of the 2015 edition of the Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) Awards, the official presentation of ETV Statements of Verification, the 2015 Retail Forum, the Best of Eco-innovation: project success stories and a business-to-business matchmaking session.

“Eco-innovation is a crucial factor for delivering the transition to a more circular economy,” said Antti Ilmari Peltomaki, Deputy Director-General at the Commission’s Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs. “Voluntary instruments such as EMAS and Ecolabel help SMEs especially improve their competitiveness, innovate and take on new opportunities and markets,” said Guillermina Yanguas, Director General at the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment in Spain.

Participants at the conference agreed that a credible label must be transparent, easy to understand, and verified by a third party. It should enable comparison between different products or services. Some suggested that credibility would be further enhanced if the label were used by public authorities and if it covered as wide as possible a range of environmental impacts. There was a call too for fewer labels overall – a representative from the OECD reported more than 500 are in use today.

The Forum in Barcelona was also the occasion to present an analysis of the results of CIP Eco-innovation market replication projects and a showcase of successful practices. 

PRACSIS will take care of the full organisation of the 19th EU Eco-Innovation Forum, to take place in Seoul, South Korea, on 27-28 October 2015, entitled “Business opportunities in eco-Innovation: materials and products for a sustainable future”. Sign up here.