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Friday, 9 July 2010

Sustainable Materials Progress

The Belgian Presidency is getting straight to the point with EU Environment Ministers due to discuss ‘sustainable materials management’ (SMM) at the informal Environment Council on 12-13 July.  Ministers will discuss a Presidency working paper which sets out the scope of SMM and discusses ways to better integrate it, for example into industrial systems and wider policy approaches.

According to the document, SMM, as the Belgian Presidency sees it is all about ‘the efficient and environmentally responsible use of materials, independent of whether they are raw materials, products or waste’ and happily is based on a lifecycle approach.

The Presidency argues that because of its own large footprint, Europe has an obligation to work towards a more sustainable management of materials.  It also recommends the establishment of a European, multi-actor transition platform on sustainable materials management, which ‘could develop a joint future vision on SMM’.

In more detail, the informal Council will discuss:
  • How can EU policy promote waste reduction and recycling?
  • How can EU policy increase the efficient use of raw materials?  How to stimulate cooperation between policymakers, industry and consumers to achieve sustainable material chains, the development of new business models which are compatible with a complete lifecycle
  • How to best coordinate current EU initiatives on raw materials, production, consumption and waste etc.  and how new EU policy tools could contribute to SMM.
We’ll follow this issue with interest.

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