I hope that the summer was an opportunity to relax and recharge your batteries. For me this was one of the best summer holidays ever. Last year, on a particularly dark and cold (!) Swedish winter day, we decided to book a summer trip to Costa Rica, without knowing much about the country, the only rationale for the decision being that it was warm and inexpensive. We discovered the most amazing country, with incredible nature, and home to 6% of the world’s biodiversity.
The Costa Rican government realized that nature is the country’s main asset and since the 1980s has made every effort to protect it, including among other things prohibiting hunting, closing zoos, reforestation, and establishing protected areas which now cover 25% of the total surface area of the country. In 2009, the Costa Rican government started a comprehensive plan to achieve the objective of a neutral carbon footprint by 2021. Over the last four years, Costa Rica has generated more than 95% of its domestic electricity from renewable energy, the latest record running 300 days on 100% renewable energy in 2018.
While Costa Rica is leading the way globally in terms of investment in renewable energy, the EU is also making progress towards a climate-neutral, circular economy. In 2019, three years after adoption, the EU Circular Economy Action Plan was fully completed. Its 54 actions have been delivered, even if the work on some of them will continue beyond 2019. The report on the implementation of the Circular Economy Action Plan, published by the European Commission in March, presented the main achievements under the Action Plan and outlined the potential for (1) further strengthening the policies supporting circular, sustainable products, (2) developing tools aimed at protecting the environment and human health, (3) making products more energy and resource efficient and (4) empowering consumers to choose better products.
At this year’s UEIL Annual Congress on 23-25 October in Cannes, France, we will have a full session dedicated to the circular economy and are honoured to have Pénélope Vincent-Sweet, an expert working for the European Environment Bureau, speaking about the EU policy landscape on the circular economy. The session will also include a panel discussion where Dimitris Kontaxis from the Federation of Recycling & Energy Recovery Industries and Entreprises in Greece and Apu Gosalia, Chair of the UEIL Sustainability Taskforce will join Mrs Vincent-Sweet to discuss with all delegates how the circular economy is shaping the European lubricants industry.
I am very excited about this year’s Congress and look forward to seeing you in Cannes!