Thursday, 14th February 2019 saw EREK – the European Resource Efficiency Knowledge Centre – co-host a workshop in Madrid, Spain. The event, entitled ‘Compete in a more resource efficient and circular economy by product policy and ecodesign’ was organised by Ihobe and supported by the Club de Excelencia en Sostenibilidad and the Spanish Ministry of Ecological Transition.

The objectives of the workshop were to share the instruments of the European Commission and the driving forces behind the Circular Economy at the European level; detect opportunities based on results, barriers, and the recommendation of ground-breaking companies; and to discover the challenges that will affect companies in terms of circular economy and resource efficiency.

With more than 180 participants, it is to date one of the largest local events of the EU Industry Days. Participants included policy-makers at national, local and regional level, representatives of big companies, as well as, SMEs, academia and other stakeholders. The interest raised by this workshop showcases the strong interest that there is in Spain to learn more about Circular Economy and Resource Efficiency. 

The Spanish Secretary of State for Ecological Transition, Hugo Morán, highlighted that “the linear economy we have at the moment should be replaced by a circular economy”. He also presented the Spanish Plan of Circular Economy.

Elena Moreno, Deputy Minister for the Environment for the Basque Government said: “The development of public policies that address the main environmental challenges is a key element to improve the competitiveness of companies (…). Expectations of growth of circular products are higher than standard products and the Basque Government considers that in 2020 the leading Basque companies are forecasting a turnover of more than 7 billion euros in circular economy products".

What are the driving forces leading to higher resource efficiency and circular economy in products?

There was also time to present EREK's recent achievements, and the dazzling growth of its network, which has tripled size in a year. It was mentioned as a proof of the great interest companies and business support organisations to engage in the transition towards a circular and less resource intensive economy.

The workshop showcased the direct advantages of the ecodesign directive while showcasing the best environmental management practices, these making resource efficiency and ecodesign a reality for businesses. Several companies presented how they are implementing ecodesign measures that helping them to be more resource efficient and circular. “With the application of ecodesign, the company our company has achieved an industrial battery of Zinc Air technology totally respectful with the environment and with a duration up to 8 times more than other technologies”, said Juan Carlos Ordoñez, from Cegasa, a batteries manufacturing company. 

Jon Kepa Izaguirre, Quality and RTD Director at A&B Laboratories, claimed that “As one of the first companies certified in Ecodesign Management by ISO 14006, A&B Laboratories, has developed greener and safer cleaning and disinfection products. The most advanced international customers are greatly satisfied with the performance of our products".

Finally, Gurutz Galfarsoro from Urola, S.Coop highlighted that “the integration of ecodesign in our activity makes a difference for our customers”.

The workshop concluded with further discussions on experiences related to circular economy and resource efficiency challenges that will be fit to promote the competitiveness of products and services of European businesses. The importance of data transmission to improve resource efficiency in value chains was highlighted, as well as the economic and environmental benefits that companies can achieve by pursuing a strategy of reducing the use of materials. The application of technologies 4.0 to increase competitiveness and maintain the level of employment was also raised during the course of the workshop.

© Ihobe The EREK Team