Sirpa Pietikäinen MEP
Stéphane Arditi, European Environmental Bureau
Mindy O’Brien, CEO of Voice Ireland
Chair Lucy Siegle kicked off the event by highlighting the need for a circular economy if humanity is to rise to the most urgent and pressing environmental challenges of our time, and by asking the panellists how we can hardwire a circular economy into the European Green Deal.
The consensus from the panel was that embedding a circular economy through legislation, creating products which are more modular, can be re-used and are upgradable, as well as ensuring world leaders, from CEOs of major organisations to politicians, are educated is essential.
Stéphane Arditi and Mindy O’Brien both highlighted the need to educate the general public about what a circular economy is, making the point that knowledge about implementing it must filter down from world leaders.
Mindy O’Brien said: “We have high-level discussions about a circular economy, but we need to bring it down to the member states and the public.
“There’s a knowledge action gap. People know they should be doing better but they don’t know how to. So we need to make it easier for them.”
Involving and informing the public was seen as a key feature for bringing a circular economy to fruition. Sirpa Pietikäinen MEP highlighted how the current climate of Covid-19 has seen some politicians put implementing a circular economy on pause, but said that it was absolutely necessary to keep up the pressure to ensure this didn’t happen.
Meanwhile Stéphane Arditi outlined how the metrics around a circular economy needed to change to give it more meaning, promoting health, wellness and the environmental benefits as persuasive arguments for politicians, business leaders and the general public to adopt circular economy measures.
Concluding the webinar, Lucy Siegle asked the panel to pick the measures in the EU Circular Economy Action Plan which they felt would be potential game-changers. The panel concluded by selecting sustainable finance, tackling food waste, and creating circular products which don’t place convenience and cost as the only considerations.
Huge thank you to all our panellists for their fantastic contributions, as well as to everyone who attended the webinar and asked questions. We hope you all enjoyed it.