Looping delivers input to Klimakur
Klimakur 2030, a report published by the Norwegian Environment Agency was shared in January 2020. The report analyzed various measures and instruments that can provide a 50% reduction in non-quota emissions in 2030 compared to 2005. The report was recently brought up for consultation and Looping provided input on instruments that should be included in the plan.
It is an interesting time to write a consultation input for this type of report. As of October 2020, Norway is in a historic crisis with a need for acute economic crisis assistance as well as long-term measures and investments that can lead to new jobs and increased value creation. The international pressure is evident, and the package of measures must continue to require climate-friendly operations. It is expected that the government will present a package of measures for green change at the end of May, which will assist in keeping up the pace on Norwegian climate policy. All European ministers are arguing to make the European Green Deal a blueprint for growth and post-crisis adjustment measures. We believe that the crisis measures and investments made now must be based on a statutory goal of being a low-emission society by 2050. In this context, Klimakur can be an important enabler for climate-friendly change with instruments and proposals for measures for non-quota sectors, but if so, the “cure” must be stronger.
Klimakur is an opportunity to stimulate sustainable change but should also address the specific solutions that can make it profitable for companies to invest in circular solutions. We find it worrisome that circular economy barely is mentioned throughout the 1196 pages of the report, an economic system that can reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by up to 63% by 2050 using low-carbon strategies and resource efficiency. However, circular economy is mentioned in connection with food waste and waste, but it is at least a gross underestimation of what this economic system entails in terms of opportunities for Norwegian industry and business. According to figures from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the EU alone can save 600 billion USD annually after 2025 if industrial companies are able to restructure their linear business models into circular ones. Additionally, a change of that scope could create more than two million new jobs.
Looping operates in the heart of the emerging circular economy in Norway. Our experience indicates that there is a great economic potential in business model innovation and a shift towards a more service-based economy – where it is in the producers’ interest to keep the resources in circulation with the highest possible value and performance. This has the possibility to reduce global consumption and puts the power back in the hands of the producer. Through producer responsibility all companies that put products on the market are responsible for the whole lifecycle of the product, and have to plan for both up-cycling, recycling and end of life for their products. Our approach to this is to develop an environmentally friendly transport packaging and to offer reuse as a service. The packaging replaces disposable plastic in the construction industry by 95% and replaces the remaining 5% with packaging that is reused, washed, and maintained.
We currently have 80% of the market for construction modules in Norway and are growing rapidly into new markets. With in-house developed technology for logistics, environmental accounting and fleet management, we are well equipped to gain market share and will in the long run be able to offer a license-based tool for other companies that want to make reuse a part of their business model. We have then reduced over 30 tons of plastic with customers such as Ramirent and are set to reduce around 60 tonnes by 2020. There is great potential for scaling this development, but if we and other players in the reuse economy are to succeed in building sustainable value chains, we need better framework conditions and incentives that make it more expensive to put virgin materials on the market and more profitable to choose circularity.
More specifically, we believe that Norway and Klimakuren must look to the EU’s action plan for circular economy for inspiration for instruments that should be considered in Norwegian context;
a) Make sustainable products and business models the norm in Europe. Introduce legislation that ensures that products on the European market are designed and manufactured to last longer, are easy to repair, can easily be up-cycled, reused and eventually recycled.
b) Facilitate new restrictions on the sale of disposable products.
c) Prohibit the destruction of surplus goods.
d) Extend the shelf life of products where possible.
e) Make it difficult to produce and sell products with planned obsolescence.
We also see that Klimakuren to a small extent addresses emissions from the construction industry, especially with regard to waste. The industry accounts for 25 percent of all waste in Norway, according to statistics from Statistics Norway. The figures apply to 2017 and show an increase of five percent from the previous year. If we include construction waste from smaller projects, the proportion is close to 40 per cent, according to calculations made by Teknisk Ukeblad. Many ask the question of how the Norwegian construction industry will manage the transition to the circular economy. For the time being, the goal in the EU directive on 70 percent material recycling by 2020 appears unrealistic. For the climate cure to work, the building and construction industry must be involved and the authorities must stimulate measures that focus on waste reduction and reuse. An example of this could be to shed light on environmental and sustainability in public procurement, for example by designing green minimum criteria for reuse of packaging and building materials. Furthermore, we believe that the following measures should be discussed to stimulate increased reuse and waste reduction:
a) A political goal of reducing (not just recycling) plastic, for example as part of a separate Norwegian plastics strategy
b) As part of the producer responsibility scheme, introduce a tax per ton of plastic produced or imported
c) Introduce a fee for products that use virgin plastic and only virgin plastic
d) Requirements to use reusable packaging where possible for all public procurement where possible
e) Introduce mandatory producer responsibility – not just for plastics producers who generate more than 1,000 kilos of plastic waste in one year
A climate cure is what the country and the world need. We look forward to circular medicine becoming part of it and Norway’s second largest mainland industry, the construction and civil engineering sector included as part of the solution.
Ida Pernille Hatlebrekke
Chief Commercial and Sustainability Officer Looping AS