The Circular Economy and product policy – report of 3E Research Centre published

On Tuesday 15 June 2021, the 3E (Environment, Economy and Energy) research centre of the Brussels School of  Governance, together with its research partners the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) and University of Eastern Finland launched the research report ”the Circular Economy and Product Policy”. The launch was hosted by the Office of the Prime Minister of Finland, the commissioner of the project. ”We were thrilled to see over 100 people taking part in the event, showcasing the importance of the topic” commented Prof. Harri Kalimo and Lea Mateo on the event.  
The aim of the project was to explore how the objectives of a sustainable circular economy can be integrated into environmental product policy. Building on interviews and workshops with international and Finnish experts, the multidisciplinary project identified and examined in detail four areas of product policy in the rapidly evolving regulatory environment of the European Union: 1) the Ecodesign Directive, 2) extended producer responsibility (EPR), 3) product service systems (PSSs), and 4) environmental product claims. 
The review of the policy instruments in, e.g., the workshops showed that there is still room for improvement in existing product policy instruments, yet also a clear need for new instruments. In addition to a wide range of recommendations on individual policy instruments, the project proposes cross-cutting measures: more systematic ex-post evaluations of the impacts of policy instruments, and attention to the coherence of the numerous and varied instruments, national policies, information systems, and environmental impacts. The circular economy is only a means to an end; environmental and other sustainability considerations must remain at the heart of product policy.