Ministers and state secretaries from nine European countries will meet in Espoo, Finland on 11–12 February to discuss how the circular economy can mitigate climate change, how cities and regions can advance the circular economy and how the textile sector can develop circular economy solutions.
Ministers and state secretaries from Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Slovenia and Sweden have been invited by Kimmo Tiilikainen, Minister of the Environment, Energy and Housing in Finland. The aim of the meeting is to discuss and develop common ideas and initiatives that are important for future circular economy policies in the European Union but also at the national level.
Circular economy should be the ‘next economy’. Despite this, the OECD estimates that the world’s consumption of raw materials will double by 2060 as the global economy expands. Today, we extract over 80 billion tonnes of materials per year, of which a mere nine per cent is reused or recycled by the global economy. Switching to a more circular economy in the EU alone could cut industrial emissions by more than half by 2050. Therefore, it is important to develop strategies for key sectors and industries and to take into account circular actions and their decarbonisation potential.
The transformation towards a circular economy is more than just a technical challenge. Most notably, it will also require new approaches to governance. Certain countries and regions have already created circular economy strategies or roadmaps, set targets for climate neutrality and resource-efficiency and created test beds for implementing new solutions and ecosystems.
The textile sector has a lot of potential – the total greenhouse gas emissions from textile production is more than the amount generated by all international flights and maritime shipping combined. Developing the fashion industry from single-use garments and fast fashion towards more durable, reparable and recyclable fashion and textiles is a strategic step for the future.
During their trip to Finland, the guests will also visit European Chemicals Agency to discuss the role of the chemicals management system in promoting circularity. Improved data on the chemical composition of our consumer products and the ability to track chemical substances in waste streams and material flows are essential in promoting circularity. On Tuesday, the Aalto University Bioproduct Centre will open its doors to the guests so they can familiarise themselves with the circular economy of battery metals and the technology used make the new bio-based Ioncell fibre, which can also be made using waste as its raw material.
Taru Savolainen, Special Adviser to the Minister of the Environment, tel. +358 40 535 8622
Invited ministers and state secretaries:
Carole Dieschbourg, Minister of the Environment, Climate and Sustainable Development (Luxembourg)
Gunvor Ericson, State Secretary, Minister for Environment and Climate (Sweden)
Jochen Flasbarth, State Secretary, Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (Germany)
Norbert Kurilla, State Secretary, Ministry of Environment (Slovakia)
Ir. Roald P. Lapperre, Director-General, Environment and International Affairs in the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management (the Netherlands)
Jure Leben, Minister for the Environment and Spatial Planning (Slovenia)