Spanish-based Acciona is one of 14 companies that recently urged the European Union to drive policies that support a circular economy.
The Circular Economy Report in which Acciona partook, entitled European industry in the 21st century: New models for resource productivity, called for improved resource productivity and reduced waste. It was published by the Prince of Wales’ Corporate Leaders Group (CLG).
According to the report, leading European companies face increased risks associated with their supply chains, and it is imperative that they reduce their consumption of natural resources, CO2 emissions and impact on the environment.
The proposed solution was to make a transition to a new economic and business model based on the redesigning of products to be more durable and use less material, opting for biomaterials rather than those derived from fossil resources, and reusing and recycling waste.
Although businesses have been taking some action, the report said that governmental support was required in order to overcome some barriers – member states need a political framework.
Barriers to businesses were said to include policies that are excessively restrictive or complex, insufficient knowledge and demand on the part of consumers, and changing people’s mindsets to focus on resources rather than waste.
It has been estimated by the European Commission that waste prevention, ecological design, reuse and other measures could provide net savings equivalent to 8% of EU companies’ annual revenues, while cutting annual emissions by between 2 and 4%.
Acciona has been an active member of the CLG since 2009. It is in the process of implementing a Sustainability Master Plan 2020, which aims to advance circular economy practices within the company. The plan promotes a production model that minimises raw material, energy and water consumption, as well as waste production.
Juan Ramón Silva, Acciona’s chief sustainability officer, said, “We should be able to accelerate cultural innovation inside companies in order to keep driving and improving resource productivity and process efficiency throughout the value chain.”