EC publishes expert recommendations on how to transform the EU’s energy-intensive industries so they contribute towards reaching the EU-wide objectives for a circular and climate-neutral economy by 2050.
These objectives were put forward in the EC’s A Clean Planet for All strategy, published in November 2018. The High-level Group on Energy-Intensive Industries was set up in 2015 in order to provide advice on sustainability policies relevant to Energy-intensive industries. This expert group gathers representatives from 11 industries, more than half of the EU industry’s energy consumption, such as aluminium, steel and cement.
The High-Level Group focused in its recommendations, on the need to ensure a just transition, and underlines the importance of equipping workers with the right skills for the future and of helping communities that depend on these industries to manage the transition. Recommendations also include actions that could provide the right market signals to attract new investments and help companies implement cost-effective solutions towards climate-neutrality, as well as setting up an industrial transition observatory to monitor the industry’s progress towards climate-neutrality and provide guidance.
In particular, the recommendations highlight three main priorities:
- Creating markets for climate-neutral and circular products, for example by enhancing the strategic use of public procurement to select sustainable products and services. This is provided for in the 2014 revision of the rules, giving public authorities the power to use public procurement to achieve environmental, societal or innovative objectives when buying goods and services. The experts also underline the need to help consumers make more informed choices.
- Developing large-scale pilot projects on clean technologies, with the aim to bring them to the market. They should be supported with EU funds and by easier access to private financing.
- Switching to alternative climate-neutral energy and feedstock sources. This would require, for example, securing access to and availability of such sources at globally competitive prices, mapping energy infrastructure and supply and promoting the ‘energy efficiency first’ principle.
Later on, the EC will present the recommendations to the Member States, in the EU Competitiveness Council, and to the EP at the beginning of next year.