Plastics in a Circular Economy

FreekvanEijk Event, News Leave a Comment

When: Tuesday June 20, 2017 13.00 – 15.00. A light lunch will be served from 12:30

Where: Permanent Representation of Denmark, Rue d’Arlon 73 1040 Brussels

Registration: Please register at CHSC@DI.DK

#CircularEconomy #PlasticsStrategy


Circular economy offers significant opportunities for growth. We are bringing together policymakers and stakeholders to debate plastics in the circular economy. The aim is to explore what solutions can be found to the challenges ahead in this area. The starting point is that such solutions need to take a holistic approach over the entire life-cycle of plastics. A discussion kindly hosted by The Permanent Representations of Denmark, Sweden and Finland European businesses will present their innovative solutions on the role of plastics in the circular economy. Policy makers and stakeholders will then discuss how to create an enabling framework for plastics in the circular economy.


Versatile, inexpensive and used to make everything from electronics to medical equipment to airplane components, plastics are an essential part of modern life. Plastics can contribute to sustainability by, for example, significantly reducing food loss and waste. Global plastics production has grown exponentially since the 1960s, reaching 311 million tonnes produced in 2014, a twentyfold increase. It is expected to reach up to 1.2 billion tonnes annually by 2050. More than 90% of plastics today are produced from fossil fuel feedstock. In 2012, plastics production globally gave rise to approximately 400 million tonnes of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per year. If current trends continue, by 2050 it could rise to 20% of global oil consumption and 15% of the global annual carbon emissions. Plastic packaging, which is particularly prone to leak into the environment, generates negative externalities that have been valued conservatively by UNEP at USD 40 billion.

Circular economy offers significant opportunities for jobs and growth. Adopting circular economy principles could not only benefit Europe environmentally and socially, but could generate a net economic benefit of €1.8 trillion by 2030.*

Plastic is one of the five priority areas addressed in the “EU action plan for the Circular Economy” and the European Commission is currently working on a strategy on plastics. It will i.a. seek to improve framework conditions for investments and innovations that enable the entire value chain using plastics to become more circular, resource-efficient and reduce its carbon footprint, in line with the climate and energy objectives of the EU.

The strategy will address three interrelated issues:

  • how plastics production can be decoupled from virgin fossil feedstock and its life-cycle GHG impacts reduced;
  • how the economics, quality and uptake of plastic recycling and reuse can be improved; and
  • how the plastic leakage into the environment can be reduced.

As a contribution to the ongoing work on the strategy, the event “Plastics in the Circular Economy” will explore different perspectives and actions with a view to identifying those with the strongest EU-added value and highest impact in addressing the issues at hand.

* Ellen MacArthur Foundation, SUN, McKinsey Center for Business and Environment Growth Within: a circular economy vision for a competitive Europe (2015) 


12.30 Registration and light lunch

13.00 Welcome Vibeke Pasternak Jørgensen, Ambassador Deputy Permanent Representative of Denmark to the EU

13.05 Keynote speaker Kestutis Sadauskas, Director DG Environment, Circular Economy and Green Growth

13.15 PANEL 1: Businesses as solution providers

– Key messages and priorities MEP Jytte Guteland, S&D sets the scene

°° Anders Fröberg, Managing Director Borealis, Sweden

°° Kalle Saarimaa, VP Recycling and Waste Solutions, Fortum

°° Pernille Blach Hansen, Senior Director Environmental Product Innovation, The LEGO Group

°°Minna Kivimäki, Ambassador Deputy Permanent Representative of Finland to the EU

13.55 PANEL 2: Policy discussion – What is needed in the up-coming Plastics Strategy? Views and reactions from stakeholders

MEP Margrete Auken, Greens/EFA sets the scene

°° Jeremy Wates, Secretary General, European Environmental Bureau °° Dr. Michiel De Smet, Project Manager New Plastics Economy, Ellen MacArthur Foundation

°°MEP Sirpa Pietikäinen, EPP

°° Karin Klitgaard, Director Environmental Policy, Confederation of Danish Industry

14.40 Comments & priorities of incoming Estonian Presidency

Eve Tamme, Counsellor for Environmental Affairs, Permanent Representation of Estonia to the European Union

14.45 Concluding remarks

Kestutis Sadauskas, Director DG Environment, Circular Economy and Green Growth

Åsa Webber, Ambassador Deputy Permanent Representative of Sweden to the EU


The event will be moderated by Mr Freek van Eijk, Founder and Managing Director, Acceleratio.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *