Europe’s Industrial Strategy – empowering industry and SMEs

UNESDA believes that the new long-term strategy for Europe’s industrial future strategy can serve as the crucial element that links the EU Green Deal and the growth agenda and supports European industry to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The strategy, launched by the European Commission in March 2020, looks to drive green and digital transformations that will empower industry and SMEs and we look forward to working alongside the EU institutions as they refine and begin to implement the strategy.

Green growth = sustainability + competitiveness

Green growth means that sustainability and competitiveness go hand in hand. The industrial strategy needs to provide the framework that will enable European industry to realise the green transition.  With this solid foundation, companies can move ahead and change their business models, safe in the knowledge that they are supported by the EU.

As a local industry, rooted in the European economy and providing both value and jobs right across our supply chain, we recognise that industry needs an industrial strategy that takes a holistic approach and touches on each of the areas that are vital to ensuring that EU industries are competitive, innovative and sustainable. UNESDA is a member of the Industry4Europe coalition which gathers 156 industrial trade associations in advocating for a holistic and ambitious EU industrial strategy with adequate progress indicators and an inclusive and high-level governance structure.

While clearly policy directions need to be in line with the current realities of a post COVID-19 Europe, it is also important that they are capable of shaping a long-term vision for a sustainable continent. This does not mean disproportionately increasing the financial burden on Europe’s already vulnerable businesses, but it does mean further enhancing the transition to a circular economy through supportive policies. Key to this is incentivising long-term investments into circularity by providing economic operators with the confidence that their efforts will be recognised and supported.

Legal certainly provides the incentive to invest

Soft drinks companies need to have legal certainty that they can take decisions and make investments in circularity.  They need clarity that the EU supports specific initiatives such as packaging innovations and new recycling technologies and that it is open to new technologies that boost innovation.  There must also be surety that there are no intentions to ban packaging materials that are 100% recyclable, made out of 100% recycled content and consumed in a market where over 90% are collected. By addressing waste effectively we can invest in recycling infrastructures and collection schemes that will create closed loops for all materials.

Through clarity of vision and purpose we can be confident of securing a clear policy framework for the future.

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