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North Rhine-Westphalia talks circular economy and resource efficiency

Henning Sittel's picture

On September 14th, the North Rhine-Westphalia Ministry of the Environment hosted a dinner debate on the topic of circular economy and resource efficiency. Henning H. Sittel of Effizienz-Agentur NRW gives GreenEcoNet a summary of proceedings, discussions, and attendees below.

For the end of 2015 the EU commission has announced a new ambitious ‘Circular Economy Strategy’. The strategy will encompass resource efficiency in both products and production. Against this backdrop, the North Rhine-Westphalia ministry of the environment hosted on September 14th a dinner debate at the NRW representative office in Brussels. The aim of the event was to introduce successful examples of resource efficiency improvement from North Rhine-Westphalia.

The debate was focused on the activities of the Efficiency-Agency North Rhine-Westphalia (EFA
NRW). In addition to North Rhine-Westphalia minister of the environment Johannes Remmel, the new Director-General of the Enterprise and Industry Directorate (DG Env), Daniel Callejo Crespo, also took part.

The European Circular Economy strategy goes beyond the scope of the classical concept of the Circular economy and also covers areas like product design and production processes up to remanufacturing. Through the Efficiency-Agency NRW, North Rhine-Westphalia has operated an EU-wide model institution since 1998. The agency supports small and medium sized enterprises on the way to more resource-efficient production processes and products by offering consulting support.

A total of 120 participants – including persons responsible from EU commission, the EU parliament as well as politicians from the regions and industry representatives – discussed an innovative design for a Circular economy, so that efficiency potentials could be realised over all branches, and nationwide.

Johannes Remmel, Minister of the environment of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia and the new Director-General of the Enterprise and Industry Directorate (DG Env), Daniel Callejo Crespo, all pointed out the relevance of Circular economy and Resource efficiency for all of the of European Economic Area, to the agreement of EU parliamentarian Simona Bonafe and Karl-Heinz Florenz.

Liz Goodwin of WRAP UK and Peter Jahns of EFA presented an overview of their activities on resource efficiency and how their work contributes to a circular economy. The SME perspective on the circular economy developments were presented by Dr Andreas Gahl, CEO from MPG GmbH, Menden. The DG Environment has scheduled the presentation of a strategy paper at the end of 2015 to give further impulses for more growth, more jobs and a stronger regional interlinking in the EU.

With the assistance of Efficiency-Agency North Rhine-Westphalia, North Rhine-Westphalia participates actively in several European network activities and projects. The EFA contributes to the European Network of Ecodesign Centres (ENEC) and also co-operates with the European Commission funded SME platform GreenEcoNet. Also the agency supports the process pushed by the DG Environment for the interlinking of agencies to a resource efficiency platform at EU level.