Small Business Standards (SBS) held its annual event on 15 June, under the heading “SMEs setting the standard for Sustainable Products: Drivers and challenges”. This year’s edition was dedicated to sustainable products, and the opportunities and challenges the Circular Economy Package of the European Commission brings to SMEs, counting with an intervention of EBC in the panel “New Construction Products Regulation (CPR): Towards more sustainability in construction?”.
The Circular Economy package was published on 30 March and aims to ensure that all products placed in the EU market become more sustainable. Along with a proposal for a new Regulation on Eco-design for sustainable products, the Commission published a Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles and a proposal for the revision of the Construction Products Regulation.
The SBS event stressed the need of SMEs to have a coherent regulatory framework to meet the targets of the EU Green Deal and reach the circular economy goals. It was organised in three panels, starting with the overarching concept of the Digital Product Passport, and then focusing on the product groups of textiles and construction products.
In the panel dedicated to the construction sector and the CPR, EBC’s president Philip van Nieuwenhuizen discussed with the European Commission, CEN/CENELEC and the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB) the opportunities of the revision proposal to render construction products more sustainable. The conversation evolved around the needs of SMEs in terms of regulatory support, with the European Commission ensuring its determination to work closely with SMEs and their organisations. The speakers agreed that standards are key to the creation of a level playing field and to facilitate the uptake by manufacturers of sustainability requirements. Finally, they concluded that sustainability is a process which need to be transparent and harmonised along Europe in order to become future proof.
President van Nieuwenhuizen shared the perspective and approach of our construction SMEs and crafts on the achievement of sustainability in the construction sector. He stated that construction SMEs and crafts are committed to contributing to the successful green and digital transition and invited for collaboration with the other actors of the construction value chain. However, he highlighted that “the CPR revision will largely impact the core construction stakeholders, reason why the proposals of construction SMEs and crafts and of the value chain must be fully considered by the EU institutions”. He added that “the CPR and its technical specifications need to provide a stable and coherent framework that is understandable and applicable by SMEs, avoiding red tape and preventing excessive costs. Construction SMEs and crafts are the hands that will deliver the Renovation Wave, and the ambitions of the European Green Deal; not taking their needs and warnings into account would severely limit their ability to deliver the sustainability ambitions for the built environment and buildings.”
SBS Secretary General Maitane Olabarria closed off the event by highlighting the need for resources and approaches specifically targeted to SMEs, to ensure their active involvement in the development and subsequent uptake of standards.
EBC is a member of SBS and the coordinator of its sectoral approach for construction.