Circular economy essential in achieving Germany’s climate targets – report
Clean Energy Wire
A circular economy is vital in achieving a climate-neutral and competitive industrialised country, according to a new report by the Federation of German Industries (BDI) and consulting group Deloitte. “The potential of a circular economy for added value, jobs and the achievement of climate targets is enormous,” said Holger Lösch, BDI’s deputy director general. Such an economy could save Germany up to 5.5 million tonnes of CO2 a year, according to the study, "Circular Economy: Challenges and Opportunities for Germany as an Industrial Location". A circular economy, the study stresses, focusses on the lowest possible use of raw materials; product designs that emphasise durability, reparability and recyclability; the most efficient use of products, including the adoption of sharing economy elements; and on the development of extensive recycling systems. “Germany has the opportunity to become a leading global provider of resource-saving technologies and to make itself less dependent on imports by recycling raw materials,” Lösch added. The study calls for the government to quickly set the course for the development of closed material cycles. In converting from linear to circular value chains, the study recommends incentives in order to help the state achieve CO2 savings through the use of secondary raw materials in global value chains. Quality standards are needed for secondary raw materials and instruments that better combine supply and demand in the recycling of raw materials. The state must do more in the future to promote business models that offer long-lasting products, the report finds.
The study echoes similar findings in a recent report by issued by Germany’s education and research ministry. The sourcing and recycling of input materials must be improved dramatically to make the energy transition truly sustainable. Germany's long experience with wind and solar power, as well as its huge carmaking industry, means the country faces a massive challenge to ensure that the resources needed on the way to climate neutrality do not cause social and environmental damages.