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Industry leaders, MEPs and NGOs write to Jean Claude-Juncker over concern about “lower priority” for resource efficiency

Date: Mon, 29 Sep 2014 | Author: Paul Sanderson

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Unilever chief executive Paul Polman, Ellen MacArthur and former Irish Prime Minister John Bruton have written to Jean Claude-Juncker (pictured) to outline the importance of the circular economy.

Along with MEPs, other industry representatives and NGOs, the members of the European Resource Efficiency Platform have written to the new European Commission President on the day that MEPs are due to hold a hearing with new Environment and Fisheries Commissioner Karmenu Vella.

In a letter to Kermenu Vella, Jean Claude-Juncker has asked him to review the resource efficiency package put together by the previous Commissioner Janez Potočnik and backed by the European Parliament in July (see story).

The letter said: “The flagship initiative for a resource efficient Europe under the Europe 2020 strategy, identified resource efficiency as key to securing growth and jobs for Europe, bringing major economic opportunities, improving productivity, driving down costs and boosting competitiveness, all in a sustainable way, touching many policy areas that concern Europe.

“As members of the European Resource Efficiency Platform (EREP), created under the Barroso Commission to support this important agenda and to advise on its implementation, we would like to express our concern over the lower priority given to resource efficiency under your Commission.

“As a diverse group of stakeholders including MEPs, Member States, industry, NGOs, and civil society we wrote in our last EREP Manifesto, adopted in March 2014 by consensus, that resource efficiency is an economic strategy to help us deal with increasing pressure on natural resources and the environment and to overcome the economic crisis stronger and more resilient than before.

“We believe, just like the EU flagship, that resource efficiency will help boost our economy, keep us within planetary boundaries, decouple economic growth from the use of natural resources and improve our quality of life.”

The letter goes on to call for long term political commitment and buy-in and that Jean Claude-Juncker’s mission letters to the Environment Commissioner and Commission Vice Presidents explicitly ask to take forward the Circular Economy package that was launched in July.

It warned: “Otherwise, we risk that resource efficiency will be relegated to the political margins before it has even properly started to be implemented by the EU. This would set a bad precedent that major Commission policy initiatives are not followed through from one Commission to the next. The Circular Economy package is one of the strongest proposals yet developed by the Commission, clustering economic development and environmental protection.”

To view the letter in full and see all signatories click here

 

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