Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

Sustainability

Sustainability

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 a 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 climate-neutral 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.

On 11 March 2020, the Commission adopted a new circular economy action plan as part of the new industrial strategy. The plan builds on the success of the previous action plan adopted in 2015 and the conclusions of its implementation report.

A competitive climate-neutral economy

European industry is transitioning to a climate-neutral economy, marking a change for the energy, manufacturing, transport and construction sectors.
Towards a climate-neutral economy
Sustainable industry low carbon (SILC) initiative

Sustainable Product Initiative, 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 ecodesign and energy labelling regulations are estimated to be in the region of 800 Terra-watt hours (TWh) per year by 2020. Ecodesign also supports industrial competitiveness and innovation by promoting the better environmental performance of products throughout the internal market.

In line with the green deal objectives, EU product policy needs to help keep resource consumption and environmental impacts from product production and use within planetary boundaries. To do that, we are developing the sustainable product policy initiative, establishing a legal frame, so all products produced or placed on the EU market stay in line with technical standards for sustainability.

Ecodesign and energy labelling

Sectorial initiatives

The Circular Plastics Alliance brings together stakeholders from industry, academia and public authorities, covering the full plastics value chains in the EU, to boost the EU market for recycled plastics to 10 million tonnes by 2025 (+150% compared to 2016).

The EU strategy for textiles strengthens the sector’s competitiveness, innovation, and boosts the EU market for textile reuse.

The strategy for a sustainable built environment is a comprehensive approach to a climate-neutral, intelligent, and resilient built environment for all EU citizens. It will encompass 

  • circularity principles and lifecycle approaches 
  • climate, energy and resource efficiency
  • management of construction and demolition waste
  • accessibility, digitalisation and skills 

Studies and events

We initiate studies to support evidence-based policymaking in this area as well as hold events to gather stakeholders and disseminate information.

Studies and events

International policy dialogues

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 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