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Cerame-Unie welcomes EU Commission Communication on resource efficiency.


20 Sep 2011


Trade & Society

Cerame-Unie welcomes EU Commission Communication on resource efficiency.

The European Ceramic Industry welcomes the Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe, as published today by the European Commission, and calls for an integrated approach to ensure consistency between the different EU policy initiatives identified.

Resource efficiency is of vital importance for a competitive ceramic industry. Significant improvements in resource efficiency have been made in the sector over the last decades. Examples include the heat re-use and reduction of waste water in the production process, the longer lifetime of the final product and the increased recycling possibilities. 

Moreover, ceramic products provide a wide range of resource efficient solutions for society: because of their durability (in the case of consumer products) or because they enable the development of green technologies (in the case of refractories and technical ceramics). Resource efficiency in the construction sector needs to be addressed at the level of the building and not of the product, but it is clear that ceramic construction products play an important role in meeting the resource efficiency goals.

True resource efficiency can only be achieved when the full life cycle is considered, from the extraction of raw materials - or where possible the use of secondary raw materials - over the use phase to the re-use and recycling. Focussing purely on the absolute consumption of raw materials whilst disregarding the durability or efficiency of the final product, could lead to counterproductive indicators and targets. Indicators based on the depletion rate of resources are much more appropriate.

In this respect, Cerame-Unie welcomes the explicit involvement of stakeholders in the discussion on appropriate resource efficiency indicators and is eager to share the expertise it gained for example in contributing to the CEN standard on the sustainability of construction works (CEN TC 350).

Cerame-Unie would also like to repeat its concern on a possible tax on raw materials. The effectiveness of such a tax still remains questionable. In addition, it would send the wrong signal to the market and negatively affect the competitiveness of the European industry vis-à-vis other regions in the world.

Last but not least, Cerame-Unie notes with great interest the call for more public and private research and innovation into the key resource efficiency objectives. As a partner of the Resource Efficiency Platform (REP) it draws the attention to the recent industry proposal for a Public Private Partnership entitled SPIRE (Sustainable Process Industry through Resource and Energy Efficiency) and calls the European Institutions for their support to make this proposal reality.

The European Ceramic Industry covers a wide range of products including abrasives, brick & roof tiles, clay pipes, wall & floor tiles, refractory products, sanitary ware, table & decorative ware, technical ceramics... It accounts for more than 220.000 direct employments and a turnover of € 28 billion within the EU.


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