The European copper industry has proposed a set of principles which it believes will ensure a balanced regulatory framework designed to support innovation and protect competitiveness.
Copper is crucial in clean technologies and the manufacture of resource-efficient products, according to the ‘Manifesto for a competitive European copper industry’, published by the European Copper Institute (ECI) in June 2010. The ECI calls for a balance between EU policies that focus on sustainability and resources efficiency and those necessary to maintain a competitive business environment.
The metal can have a significant positive environmental impact. Copper is 100% recyclable, durable and has high electrical and thermal conductivity, placing it at the centre of clean-technology developments in sectors such as sustainable building and transport. Use of copper can also help to improve resource efficiency, a key driver of the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. For example, high-performance copper alloys have enabled the miniaturisation of everyday items such as mobile phones, computers, cameras and MP3 players.
Copper can also be recycled again and again without affecting performance, making it exceptionally sustainable. “40% of European copper demand is met today through the recycling of end-of-life products and offcuts from the downstream value [chain],” says John Schonenberger, ECI Chief Executive.
ECI outlines five principles necessary to balance EU policy objectives and competitiveness:
‘Manifesto for a competitive European copper industry’:
http://eurocopper.alligence.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/20100629_manifesto_eurocopper_single_pages_withoutsignatures.pdf [398 KB]
European Copper Institute:
Europe 2020 strategy:
Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) regulation:
Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) Directive:
Non-energy raw materials initiative (European Commission Enterprise and Industry DG):
According the International Copper Study Group, 23.5 million tonnes of copper were used worldwide in 2008. Europe is the only region in which use of recycled copper increased. Europe met 43% of its copper demand from recycling in 2008 compared with 41.3% in 2007. The figure for EU Member States grew from 38% in 2007 to 40% in 2008.
International Copper Study Group: