(Berlin, 19. Januar 2023) A Circular Economy promises more sustainable economic activity: ideally, materials and natural resources are managed in cycles without consuming new ones - in line with the European Green Deal and the Climate Protection Act 2021. For this to succeed, standards are needed. This is where the Circular Economy standardization roadmap comes in: DIN, DKE and VDI published the document today. The roadmap describes the challenges facing industries in the area of the circular economy and which standards are needed to meet them. It was compiled by more than 550 experts from industry, science, the public sector and civil society. The project was funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety.
State Secretary Christiane Rohleder: "Only if we achieve a genuine circular economy can we overcome the global crises - the climate crisis, species extinction and environmental pollution. Standards are a key prerequisite for the entire economy to succeed in the urgent transition to a circular economy. Without standards, neither consumers nor companies can recognize the quality of materials, products or even processes. But only recognizable good quality can create trust in a market. That is why standards are important, so that, for example, a strong market for recycled materials can emerge. The German government wants to advance the topic of standardization for a genuine circular economy in the EU and define requirements for products throughout Europe - in dialog with manufacturers. Important preliminary work has been done for this with the Circular Economy standardization roadmap."
Christoph Winterhalter, Chairman of the Management Board (CEO) of DIN: "Together, we can create the transformation to the Circular Economy, and standards are an important prerequisite for this. They define interfaces and ensure clear communication between the various stations in the cycle. The Circular Economy Standardization Roadmap provides concrete needs for action and shows where we can use standardization to provide targeted support for the initiated transformation process toward a circular economy."
Michael Teigeler, Managing Director of DKE: "The needs identified in the standardization roadmap are the prelude to developing appropriate norms and standards in national, European and international bodies. Together, we can actively shape the rules of the Circular Economy. To this end, we invite all interested experts."
Dieter Westerkamp, VDI Director and Executive Member of the Executive Committee (interim): "DIN, DKE and VDI are joining forces to work jointly on uniform solutions. Synchronizing legislation and standardization in particular can offer a considerable speed advantage. This requires an intensified dialog between all those involved in standardization with the German government and the European Commission."
The roadmap comprises seven focus topics, which are aligned with the focus topics of the EU's Circular Economy Action Plan: Digitalization, Business Models and Management; Electrical Engineering and ICT, Batteries; Packaging, Plastics, Textiles, and Buildings and Communities. The roadmap provides an overview of the status quo of standardization in these areas and, above all, identifies needs for future standards. Topics such as requirements for reusable systems, standardized reusable packaging, quality requirements for secondary raw materials and the definition of product longevity play a role. In addition, five cross-cutting issues have been identified that affect all focal areas: Sustainability Assessment, Lifetime Extension, Digital Product Passport (DPP), Recyclability and End of Waste. On the basis of the results obtained, the project is now to be put into practice. The work is being coordinated by the Circular Economy Advisory Council of DIN and DKE in the Environmental Protection Coordination Office. It includes leading figures and experts from business associations, civil society organizations, science and research institutions, and the public sector.
Further information (in German):