In conjunction with SMEunited, already active in the European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform (ECESP) as a member of the Coordination Group, EBC has joined the sectoral working group dedicated to Construction and Infrastructure for the 2021-2023 mandate. While construction has a considerable environmental impact, with construction and demolition waste accounting for more than 35% of all waste generated in the EU, construction SMEs are also an essential player in implementing the ambitious circular economy ambitions of the EU.
Construction SMEs are fully aware of the role they must play to reduce the impact of their renovation and deconstruction activities on the environment. They also know about the contribution they can bring with regard to the uptake of sustainable products and secondary raw materials as well as the achievement of a “green” built environment. However, construction SMEs often face heavy challenges linked to the circular economy, specifically in terms of administrative burdens and technical requirements, due to their limited financial and human resources.
This is why EBC is pleased to join the ECESP Construction & Infrastructure Leadership Group, which held its second meeting on 8th March. This working group will study preconditions and measures to increase the dissemination of circular economy in the built environment. The group closely monitors the Renovation Wave and upcoming initiatives to make the construction sector more circular as foreseen in the new Circular Economy Action Plan. Eugenio Quintieri, EBC Secretary-General, will participate in its activities, on behalf of SMEunited, to bring to the table the expertise and expectations of construction SMEs and craftsmen in the field of the circular economy.
“Finding the right balance between competitiveness, climate protection and social responsibility is a must in order to enable construction SMEs & craftsmen to efficiently contribute to the European circularity efforts. Hence, we welcome the opportunity offered by the ECESP to discuss and shape regulatory and civil society initiatives that take into account our needs and constraints in the transition to a circular economy,” highlights Eugenio Quintieri, EBC Secretary-General.
“SMEunited believes that circular economy has a strong potential for SMEs if it is set in the right framework enhancing opportunities and reducing costs and red tape. This is why SMEunited contributed to the development of the circular economy for years with concrete actions, such as the R2PI project financed by Horizon 2020. SMEunited participates in the ECESP to improve the conditions for a higher uptake of the circular economy by SMEs. We give priority to sectoral initiatives such as the Leadership Groups on Construction, Food, Textiles and Circular Cities to translate into concrete initiatives for SMEs across the EU,” states Véronique Willems, SMEunited Secretary-General.
The ECESP is a joint initiative by the European Commission and the European Economic and Social Committee. This EU-wide initiative is steered in partnership with the European civil society, so that the platform bridges existing actions at the local, regional and national level, and supports the implementation of the circular economy.
SMEunited, as the Social Partner representing SMEs at the European level, is part of the Coordination Group of the ECESP. With members selected from civil society organisations, business and trade union representatives, think-tanks, research centres and public bodies, the Coordination Group counts 24 members acting as the ECESP ambassadors.