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Sustainability and circular economy

The European Commission aims to ensure coherence between industrial, environmental, climate and energy policy to create an optimal business environment for sustainable growth, job creation and innovation.  To support this, the Commission has established an ambitious agenda to transform EU economy into circular one, where the value of products and materials is maintained for as long as possible, bringing major economic benefits. The Commission also supports European industry in the move to a low-carbon economy and improves the energy efficiency of products through Ecodesign legislation.

Areas of action

Circular economy

The Commission is undertaking a range of actions to support the move to a more circular economy. These cover the cycle from production and consumption, to waste management and the market for secondary raw materials. In a circular economy the value of products and materials is maintained for as long as possible and waste and resource use are minimised. This can contribute to innovation, growth and job creation.

Boosting business and industry through a circular economy

A competitive low-carbon economy

The transition to a low-carbon economy is important in order to transform the European industrial base, including the energy, manufacturing, transport and construction sectors. European energy intensive industry sectors that face international competition could be substantially disadvantaged by unilaterally imposed carbon constraints on EU industries. The Commission has developed carbon leakage provisions and promotes low-carbon technologies through the Sustainable Industry Low Carbon (SILC) programmes.

Towards a low-carbon economy

Ecodesign and energy labelling

Legislation on Ecodesign and energy labelling is an effective tool for improving the energy efficiency of products. It helps eliminate the least performing products from the market, significantly contributing to the EU’s 2020 energy efficiency objective. Energy savings related to Eco-design and Energy Labelling Regulations are estimated to be in the region of 800 Terra-watt hour (TWh) per year by 2020. Ecodesign also supports industrial competitiveness and innovation by promoting the better environmental performance of products throughout the Internal Market.

Ecodesign and energy labelling

Studies and events

The European Commission undertakes studies to support evidence-based policy making in this area and holds events to gather stakeholders and disseminate information.

Studies and events

International policy dialogues

In order to maintain the international competitiveness of European industries while safeguarding strict environmental standards, it is important to work towards a more level playing field through international policy dialogues. These dialogues aim to share European sustainable and low carbon solutions with other countries and provide an opportunity to promote European technologies in important export markets. The Commission is an active member of the G7 Alliance for Resource Efficiency.

International policy dialogues