The events that we have witnessed over the last two years have highlighted the enormous fragility of the current economic model and its
multiple interdependencies. Although globalisation has brought undoubted benefits for the progress of world economies and great opportunities for development, it has also led to an increased dependence on third countries in order to maintain the majority of Europe’s domestic economies.
Events such as the outbreak of the Covid- 19 pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine have obstructed global supply chains, and we are witnessing an unprecedented rise in the price of fossil fuels which is leading to levels of inflation that have not been seen for decades. Industries such as electronics and the automotive industry have been seriously affected by serious supply problems and cost overruns in critical raw materials and components, and by an increase in the price of energy that is inevitably affecting manufacturing
On the other hand, although the 196 countries and institutions that signed the Paris Agreement pledged to limit warming to no more than 2 degrees Celsius, tied to Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) which had to be included in their climate actions after 2020, the objectives for fighting against climate change are not moving forward as quickly as they should.
According to the latest Circularity Gap Report 2021 produced by Circle Economy, if we continue with a mainly linear production model,
the current conditions will create an emissions gap of up to 3.2 degrees in this century. The diagnosis is therefore that we urgently need to complement the NDCs with the global objective of doubling the circularity rate of the current model, from 8.6% to 17%.
Climate change is already a major problem, which threatens to have devastating effects, and will not be resolved naturally. Sustainable Development Goal 13 in the United Nations 2030 Agenda, related to action in favour of the environment and the fight against climate
change, presents one of the greatest challenges for the world. But reducing CO2 emissions and mitigating the effects of this phenomenon require a joint commitment from society as a whole, with a long-term vision beyond 2030.
The change of model raises numerous challenges, but at the same time it is our best opportunity to achieve environmental sustainability
and to reduce social inequalities all over the world. And this will not be possible without a genuine cultural change involving a profound
transformation of the linear production and consumption model towards a more efficient circular economy in the use of available resources.
One of the key factors in industrial models in Europe is a firm commitment to reducing their dependence on critical raw materials, given their scarcity and the strategic dependence on third countries they entail. In order to do this, it will be necessary to focus on ecodesign considered in the broad sense, ranging from the conceptualisation of the products themselves to their ease of repair and recycling at the end of their useful life cycle, in order to keep materials in the production cycle for as long as possible and to avoid the need to extract
more finite natural resources, which are increasingly scarce and costly.
The European Commission has recently proposed new rules to make almost all physical goods marketed in the European Union more environmentally friendly. They must be adapted to the circular economy and energyefficient throughout their life cycle, from the design phase to their use, reuse and recycling.
The European Parliament has also approved a resolution calling upon the European Commission to enact legislation on a new “right to repair” by the end of 2022. The legislation must be closely linked to prohibiting planned obsolescence, and to the need to address this issue by committing to the circular economy, in order to foster reuse and a change in consumption habits that ultimately lead to greater
This transformation is also a great opportunity for job creation. The International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates that the new labour revolution will be driven by the circular economy, which has the potential to create 24 million jobs worldwide by the year 2030, and that waste from electric and electronic equipment (WEEE) is one of the sectors with the greatest potential for growth.
We are witnessing an increase in the inclusion of socially responsible investment criteria in business practices, linking the actions of companies and institutions to corporate responsibility and sustainability. An increasing number of organisations are taking these criteria into account in their business strategy and in the supply chain, as they are useful for managing risks and obtaining competitive advantages. Spain has had a Climate Change and Energy Transition Law since May 2021, which aims to move towards emission neutrality in 2050. The new law is based on the National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan (PNIEC) and the Long-Term Decarbonisation Strategy 2050, and aims to address the energy transition and to make the entire electrical system based on renewable energy sources.
And finally, there is the new Law 7/2022 on Waste and Contaminated Soils for a Circular Economy, which repeals the previous Waste and Contaminated Soil Law of 2011, and aims to intensify the fight against climate change and to protect the environment and health, while continuing to move forward towards achieving several of the Sustainable Development Goals.
We must become collectively aware, with everyone assuming a shared responsibility that the circular economy is not only a great opportunity, but also something that is inevitable if we want to transform the current production model into a sustainable model.
In line with this transformation of the economic model that is being promoted in Europe, and with the trends aimed at creating synergies in waste management, we have taken an important step forward with the constitution of ECOTIC Entidad Administradora S.L. for the management of environmental services.
ECOTIC Entidad Administradora will enable us to improve the services we offer to producers of electrical and electronic equipment and collection points, offer new separate collection services and undertake new projects aimed at developing the circular economy, which will undoubtedly be a source of added value and progress in the manner stipulated by the Law.
We will also be in a position to improve our operational efficiency, adapt our organisational design to the needs arising from the management of Extended Producer Responsibility, and enhance the synergies that will be essential for achieving a circular economy model that is more efficient in its use of the resources available.
We are convinced that organisations and companies working in the field of waste management will play a leading role in this change
of model that contributes to achieving sustainability of the environment and the production system. But to do this, we must be able to innovate, anticipate needs and respond to many new challenges.
At ECOTIC we firmly believe that by working together and aligning ourselves with the Sustainable Development Goals and being
committed to moving forward in the development of a new model that prioritises environmental protection and people’s well-being, we have a great opportunity before us to transform the economic model, which will enable us to leave a better legacy to future generations.