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ROCKWOOL Group active in circular economy discussion

The European Commission is on target to announce a new set of legislations on Circular Economy by late 2015 consisting of more ambitious policies than were previously suggested. The ROCKWOOL Group is actively taking part in the discussions generated by the renewed focus.

Speakers from the European Parliament present at ROCKWOOL sponsored roundtable, discussing the future of the EU’s Circular Economy.

In an effort to define and refine the Circular Economy agenda, a roundtable meeting was held in Brussels on 27 May, bringing together business representatives and EU policy makers specifically interested in how buildings can contribute to a more sustainable Circular Economy in Europe.

Buildings account for nearly 50% of all fixed assets in the EU, and therefore their overall significance cannot be ignored in the final package. “It is important that buildings are more efficiently deconstructed so that recyclable waste does not end up in landfill – ultimately polluting the planet and wasting valuable resources”, said Agnes Schuurmans, Public Affairs Manager for ROCKWOOL International A/S.

“The ROCKWOOL Group already contributes to the Circular Economy by utilising secondary raw materials from other industries and recycling its own waste and stone wool coming back from the market, but with more streamlined legislation in the EU this could again be improved”.

The Circular Economy can be the source of many tangible benefits in society, including increased innovation and employment – over 1 million new jobs for remanufacturing globally and for recycling in Europe, which work in tandem to create a more sustainable and modernized market. Also, the cyclical nature of products and materials as they are repeatedly reused means less of an environmental impact; reducing the need for raw materials which could induce material savings worth almost EUR 500 million.

Last week’s roundtable discussion brought forward these ideas and shed light on the room for improvement in the building market in the presence of European Commission member Mr. Basuyau and MEP Mrs. Pietikäinen, who is currently drafting a report on the Circular Economy that will be influential in the final package decision later this year.

The upcoming ROCKWOOL Benelux CSR Report 2015 has served as input for a Manifesto on Circular Economy from a Dutch business perspective.

Sustainability leaders in the Netherlands prompt revised circular economy regulations for the EU in new Manifesto, drawing upon ideas and proposals from the upcoming 2015 ROCKWOOL Benelux CSR Report.

The Manifesto exists as a joint venture from De Groene Zaak Sustainable Business Association, MVO Nederland (CSR Foundation) and Circle Economy, and “serves as input from a frontrunners’ business perspective for the renewed Circular Economy Package”. The European Commission is set to revise the existing model sometime in late 2015, and therefore this Manifesto plays a key role in influencing the ultimate decision during its final deliberation phase.

Aside from the obvious environmental and ecological advantages associated with a more stringent circular economy policy, the Manifesto also looks to expose the full potential of other factors, including economic growth, innovation and an increased availability of jobs.

Circular economy is a key cornerstone of the ROCKWOOL Benelux 2015 CSR Report – scheduled for launch at an event in Roermond, the Netherlands on 30 June – and places emphasis on value and true performance over price. “Making the transition to a circular economy requires a pressing need for new skills, competences and approaches”, states Hannie Stappers, Director of Public Affairs for ROCKWOOL Benelux, stressing that an effective circular economy will only exist through a change in mind-set alongside the ideas and proposals for  a change in legal policies.

The Manifesto is co-signed and supported by several industry leaders from the Netherlands, many of whom also lend statements of support, arguing the often-overlooked business case for a circular economy.

To find out more about the pledge for a stronger circular economy, read the full manifesto.