EU Circular Economy Action Plan & why ALL Telecom operators must act now

Posted in on 14 September 2020

Europe flag


We cannot ignore our climate crisis

Climate change is real and human activity is the main cause. According to the UN environment programme, 2019 concluded a decade of exceptional global heat, retreating ice and record sea levels driven by greenhouse gases produced by human activities. 

Until now, the long-term effects of global waste on the earth has largely been overlooked. However ‘ignorance is bliss’ is not the approach to take when it comes to the climate crisis. It’s important that we act now before it’s too late, and this is what the EU is doing. In a bid to move towards a more climate-neutral, competitive economy in the continent, in March 2020, the European Commission released the EU's new Circular Economy Action Plan (CEAP)

With sustainability at our company’s core, here at TXO we truly believe that the CEAP is a step in the right direction towards a more sustainable telecom industry. Here we will cover how the plan is affecting the telecom industry and what you can do right now to help fight climate change.  


What is the European Circular Economy Action Plan?

The CEAP is essentially the building blocks of the European Green Deal. The Green Deal is Europe’s new agenda for sustainable growth. The plan itself focuses on extending the life cycle of products in the EU and introducing a sustainable product policy framework. The actions outlined within the plan include:

  • Ensuring that resources are kept in use for as long as possible
  • Moving away from a ‘throwaway economy’ and reducing electronic waste (e-waste)
  • Making sure that the actions for circularity is accessible and works for people

The plan intends to focus on industries that use the most resources and where waste generation has the potential to be high. This includes targeting the electronic, ICT and telecommunication sectors. Ultimately, the European Commission hopes to ensure less waste and lead the way to a global circular economy.   


How can telecom operators conform with the action plan?

The telecommunications sector contributes to the millions of tonnes of e-waste each year. Waste that is not recycled ends up in landfill and can end up releasing hazardous materials that can pollute the earth. This is why it is crucial for industry leaders to be environmentally aware. Furthermore, following the announcement of the Circular Economy Action Plan, it is important for European telecom operators in particular to take steps to circulate their supply chain. The actions that telecom operators can take include:

  • Setting sustainable strategy and related goals as soon as possible
  • Reuse or resale of surplus networking equipment
  • Discussing with suppliers the options of environmentally responsible products/services
  • Repairing faulty equipment instead of throwing away
  • Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) recycling

For further details on the actions to take to establish a more sustainable telecoms supply chain, download our free guide now – ‘Sustainable practices all telecom supply chain managers should follow to support the circular economy.

Provided that European operators abide by the actions set out by the European Commission, we should see a decline in the generation of e-waste across the continent. In addition to this we can expect to see products lasting longer while still performing well. The CEAP outlines that two in three Europeans would use their electronic devices for longer provided performance is not significantly affected. The right to repair will become an incentive to ensure the longevity of electronics. 

With today’s climate crisis getting increasingly publicised with individuals and groups spreading awareness, we’re set to see more governmental bodies across the world take the same approach as Europe. Some countries such as the UK are legally binded to becoming more sustainable. The UK has a legal target of net zero emissions by 2050 and a report outlining how to reach this target has recently been published by members of the House of Commons. Encouraging businesses and individuals to act more sustainably is becoming the norm. Given the environmental emergency, the EU are right to enforce change to promote acting green. But even more important is urging the member states alongside them to join the movement.

For more information on how our team can help you get started with sustainably optimising your telecoms supply chain, please reach out to us. Together we can reduce waste, elongate the lifespan of electronics and help fight against climate change.