27 June 2019. The Spanish Association for Standardisation-UNE has created a new Technical Standardisation Committee, the CTN 323 Circular Economy, becoming the first to tackle the Circular Economy in a comprehensive manner and from a multisectoral perspective.
The meeting to set up this new Committee took place today at the headquarters of the Spanish standardisation body. It was set up with enormous anticipation, and involved 130 experts from 75 organizations, including important Spanish national associations, companies, SMEs, and the ministries for Ecological Transition, Development and Health, and Consumer Affairs and Social Welfare. UNE is a successful model of public-private collaboration.
During the meeting, María Jesús Rodríguez, Director of CEDEX's Centre for Applied Technical Studies, was elected Chairman of the CTN 323, representing the Ministry for Ecological Transition.
The objective of the UNE Committee on the Circular Economy is to channel Spain's position in the development of international and European standards in this field, as well as develop horizontal national standards that help organizations to successfully overcome their challenges within the Circular Economy.
This Committee will directly channel Spanish influence in the development of global standards. These are developed within ISO/TC 323 Circular Economy of the International Standards Organization or the CEN/CLC/JTC 10 Ecodesign, material efficiency of energy-related products within the European standardization bodies CEN and CENELEC, which focus on the Circular Economy as a global concept and with a multisectoral application.
There have traditionally been numerous sectoral standards related to different stages of the circular model. There are also some multisectoral application standards that already apply to existing areas like the environment or sustainable procurement. However, until now, no Spanish Standardisation Committee has considered the Circular Economy from a horizontal point of view. In turn, sectoral aspects of the Circular Economy or those covered by existing Standardisation Committees are excluded from CTN 323's scope of activity.
Furthermore, UNE has recently created the Advisory Commission on Circular Economy, under its Board of Directors, to work on the role of standardisation as a tool to help different organisations fulfil the objectives of the circular economy. This Commission agreed to create the Circular Economy Standardisation Committee, whose aim is to ensure Spanish interests are properly represented at a European and international level when addressing horizontal issues, and, at the same time, to cover national, transversal initiatives related to this area.
Economic models based on a linear system of production and consumption by which items are manufactured, used and then disposed of at the end of their useful life are not sustainable. By contrast, a circular economy takes a broader, global perspective, recognising the value of materials and energy beyond the end of a product's immediate useful life. This model is also advocated by both the European Union and Spain; on a national level, the regulatory framework is outlined in the blueprint of the Circular Economy Strategy, its biannual plans and the Circular Economy Pact.