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UNE publishes report to boost circular economy

22/03/2022

  • Almost 50 technical committees of the Spanish Association for Standardization have participated in the preparation of this report.
  • The standards include requirements for the use of waste in production processes, methodologies for determining hazardous substances that may hinder the implementation of circular measures or for assessing the durability, reparability, recyclability or biodegradability of a multitude of products, among many other aspects. 

Madrid, 22 March 2022 - The Spanish Association for Standardization, UNE, has published the report "Study on the contribution of technical standards to the circular economy" was presented., in order to raise awareness of the contribution of standards to reducing the processing of new resources and the generation of waste. Covering multiple sectors (including industry, tourism, fashion, health and real estate), the report is aimed at providing both companies and regulators with benchmarks to enact the circular economy in the market. The study identifies almost 50 UNE committees that develop standards that drive the circular economy.

The study includes a sample of standards that are connected to the circular economy, although there are additional sectors that also develop standards in this area. The aim of the document is to highlight the role of UNE standards as facilitators of the transition to the circular economy for companies and institutions of different kinds.

Among other objectives, the standards gathered in the document aim to identify the requirements for waste to be reused in production processes, to assess the durability and recyclability of waste, and to identify hazardous substances that may hinder the implementation of circular measures. They also establish a common framework of action to define the principles and techniques applicable in the circular economy and to avoid greenwashing. According to a European Commission report published last year, 42% of EU companies that advertise their sustainable practices online fall into this malpractice.

"The relevance of the circular economy is evident in the regulatory environment at European, national and local levels. The prominent role attributed to it by the European Green Pact, the adoption of the Spanish Circular Economy Strategy, and the publication of packages of measures at a regional level are proof of this. Technical standards, when based on consensus and best practices, provide reliable tools to facilitate the implementation and validation of the measures required by this model", stated Iván Moya, head of Ecological Transition at UNE.

UNE, in collaboration with other international standardisation bodies, is currently developing global standards to establish circular business models and measure their circularity at various levels - product, service and organisational activity.