The European Commission was awarded the 2019 circular economy prize on the eve of the World Economic Forum, which is taking place in Davos, Switzerland 22-25 Jan.
The prize, presented by the World Economic Forum and the Forum of Young Global Leaders recognised the Commission for the work done to speed up the transition towards a circular economy, which is seen as key to a future in which environmental protection and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions go hand in hand with opportunities for jobs, growth and investment.
"I would like to share this prize with the European circular economy community… and with 500 million Europeans,” said first vice-president Frans Timmermans, who was unable to attend the ceremony but who has been a key actor in the Commissions' work on the circular economy.
“We need their [people’s] active involvement to push the transformation that has already started forward," he added.
Over the past years, the European Commission has promoted the circular economy and products and services to create a more sustainable economy.
“We started with a very ambitious and comprehensive plan how to change our economy. This award recognises that our choice of 'redesign, reuse, recycle' is the right one for the environment and the industry alike,” said European Commissioner Karmenu Vella who received the award on behalf of the EC.
In 2015, the Commission established a unique comprehensive strategy, the Circular Economy Package. The package aimed to close the resource loop by introducing measures covering the whole lifecycle of products and materials – from production and consumption to management of waste and its re-use as secondary raw materials in the economy.
The measures also tackled climate change with energy savings and reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and included the first-ever European Strategy for Plastics, which was introduced and adopted in 2018.
As part of its long-term strategy launched in November last year, the EU aims to become the world’s “first major economy” to become climate neutral by 2050.