‘Circular Venice’ conference in Venice: innovative experiences compared

Event dedicated to the theme of the circular economy and its many declinations and applications

The European Regulation on the Digital Product Passport was presented during the conference ‘Circular Venice, policies, practices and innovation compared’, organized this morning in the Cesare De Michelis Auditorium of M9 by the Venice World Capital of Sustainability Foundation / Venice Sustainability Foundation (Fvcms/Vsf) with the Veneto Region, the Municipality of Venice, Acr+ and the Venice Foundation. An event dedicated to the theme ofthe circular economy and its many declinations and applications.

“Talking about the circular economy also means accepting the great challenge of the efficient and sustainable use of the limited resources available, a challenge that affects the whole of society and is particularly felt in Venice where any reflection on the economy and the environment must also take into account such a fragile and complex environmental dimension and a unique history in the world”, observes Renato Brunetta, president of the Venice World Capital of Sustainability Foundation.

As for the digital product passport, presented publicly for the first time in Italy, the project is part of the broader EU Regulation on the eco-friendly design of products (ESPR) and aims to make the circular economy model feasible on a large scale, through introduction of mandatory environmental requirements to be present on the EU market and a common methodology for detecting and classifying materials and their origin, providing information on the composition, on the presence of recycled materials, spare parts, parts or dangerous substances contained in the products, to in order to facilitate citizens’ purchasing choices, as well as repairs or recycling.

For Alberto Parenti, member of the Directorate General for the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs of the European Commission, “the new proposal from the European institutions aims to strengthen the circular economy within the single market through the adoption of common design requirements for products with the highest environmental impact and of a digital ‘product passport’ that guarantees complete traceability, consumer empowerment and the possibility of applying incentives that help companies create increasingly sustainable, repairable and recyclable. This is certainly a very innovative element that facilitates a change in the production paradigm and in the purchasing habits of consumers who, also due to the planned obsolescence of electronic devices and the presence on the market of cheap and difficult to dismantle products, are often forced to buy new products, getting rid of broken appliances or digital devices, rather than opting to repair them”.

In Veneto, the first region in Italy for recycling, where 76% of waste is valorised for material recovery, resolutions have recently been introduced regarding the circularity of fundamental production systems to enhance the diffusion of material recovery practices in the sectors of construction and manufacturing industry.

Paolo Giandon, director of the Environment and Energy Transition Directorate of the Veneto Region, recalls: “The Region has recently approved the update of the regional urban and special waste management plan, addressing the needs of the productive world by giving greater clarity to the rules that regulate the waste management and establishing, in this regard, a regional coordination of by-products and an ‘End of Waste’ technical table (the process through which a waste ceases to be waste, through recovery procedures, and instead acquires the status of product). The work of these two bodies, started in July 2023, produced results approved by Decree last November. At the same time, protocols were signed by the Region for the definition of operational proposals for the implementation of the circular economy in the production sectors and in the construction sector, with intermediate bodies, Universities, Arpav, Legambiente and Chambers of Commerce. The inclusion of all the most representative realities of the territory has allowed us to create moments of comparison between different approaches and skills, identifying, through projects and analyses, virtuous strategies for implementing the circular model in the metropolitan and regional context. Today’s discussion with some representatives of European institutions and associations, committed to achieving community eco-environmental objectives, provides us with other precious ideas and examples for applications never tested in our territory”.