The 2014 Going Green – Care Innovation conference took place November 17, 2014 to November 20, 2014. The conference is held once every four years and brings together a critical mass of environmental managers, engineers, corporate executives, government representatives and academic researchers that are focused on environmental performance and compliance. The conference provided the best opportunity in 2014 for insight to the upcoming direction and priorities related to environmental management and tools.
This year’s conference theme was “Towards a Resource Efficient Economy”. The most notable environmental focus areas during the conference were: compliance to environmental legislation, end of life management (recycling), circular economy, eco-design including material selection and efficiency, eco-labels and green procurement.
The opening keynote “Challenges in the field of Resource efficiency, Eco-innovation and Circular economy – for the EU and within the new Commission” was delivered by Luisa Prista from the European Commission. It was the first of several presentations that highlighted the Commission’s forward looking emphasis on increased use of recycled materials in products and increased material recycling (particularly scare and environmentally sensitive materials) to meet the demand.
Ms. Prista noted that the new European Commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, has received letters from several corporate executives emphasizing the need to invest and develop the circular economy. Consequently, the Commission is launching several pilot projects to develop capability and prove concepts where there are currently gaps. As with other similar previous EU initiatives, the general expectation is that the pilot programs will eventually lead to regulations once the concepts are proven and systemic capability begins to emerge.
Opening Panel Discussion
During a subsequent panel discussion Ms. Prista and executives from Siemens Healthcare, Philips, Electrolux, and Toshiba identified several other urgent priorities including:
- Supply chain information on material content
- Collaboration in the supply chain
- Better education and understanding
- Common tools
- Harmonization in regulations
- Better understanding of regulations