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PEN-CP Observatory on Green Customs, Circular Economy, and Sustainability Developments

Setting the scene

Governments at the international, EU and national level are making ambitious plans - such as the Paris Agreement, the European Green Deal, and Circular Economy Action Plan - to address circular economy and sustainability challenges. Developments such as the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism, the new Battery Regulation, the Regulation on deforestation-free supply chains, the proposal for the Eco-design for sustainable products regulation, and the Critical Raw Materials Act are just a few of the many examples where monitoring for circularity and sustainability is enhanced. All this is expected to introduce new regulatory requirements, for example regarding the percentage of recycled materials in new products or the requirement that products brought to the EU market must not cause deforestation. These regulations also define the role of digital infrastructures and digital product passports that can contribute to better availability of information about products and materials.

 

Customs already has some responsibility regarding sustainability and the environment, e.g. the Regulation on FLEGT licensing scheme for imports of timber; the Regulation aimed at establishing a community system to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing; the Regulation on substances that deplete the ozone layer; and the CITES, Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. It is not yet entirely clear how customs will be affected by the new regulatory developments related to circular economy and sustainability. But customs will certainly continue to play an important role when goods are moved across borders. From the customs risk management standpoint, these new regulatory developments will affect a wide array of products and require data sources and detection technologies and innovations that can allow analysis, not only at a product level, but at the level of the material composition and the provenance of these materials.

 

How can customs cope with such new challenges? Customs is already investing in innovations including the use of external business data sources for customs risk management, and the development of advanced detection technologies. Investing in customs' current innovative solutions for addressing safety, security, and revenue collection challenges in traditional and eCommerce streams will establish a strong foundation for customs to effectively tackle future challenges related to the Circular Economy monitoring. A good understanding of the regulatory, business, and technology developments that happen outside of customs now in the area of circular economy and sustainability, will certainly help customs prepare for the future. And from a policy perspective, the EU Customs reform proposal sets an ambitious vision about the role that customs can play with respect to Circular economy and sustainability and about new approaches that will enable truly data-driven customs.

Cross-cutting initiatives

EU Customs Reform

DG TAXUD

The proposal addresses Customs and its role with respect to green developments and data-driven customs.

World Customs Organization- Green Customs 

WCO Green Customs Action Plan

 

WCO study report- Transition to a circular economy and implications for Customs administrations

WCO Green Customs Conference- Green Customs global conference website. The website also contains the presentations from the conference, offering rich materials on the topic.

WCO page on green customs

CIRPASS-project

Funded by the European Commission under the Digital Europe Programme, CIRPASS is a collaborative initiative to prepare the ground for the gradual piloting and deployment of a standards-based Digital Product Passport (DPP), aligned with the requirements of the Proposal for Ecodesign for Sustainable Product Regulations (ESPR), with an initial focus on the electronics, batteries, and textile sectors.

DATAPIPE-project

Funded by the European Commission, DATAPIPE - Extended data pipeline concept for the circular economy transition in The Netherlands -  is a project in support to the Customs Administration of the Netherlands and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management of the Netherlands. The project examines the circularity of a car, and subsequently zooms in on circularity of parts/ materials used in cars, including batteries, metals, electronics, plastics, and tires.

PEN-CP

The Pan-European Network of Customs Practitioners – EU Horizon 2020 funded Customs security practitioner project – acts as a European Customs innovation boosting network, powered by an innovation-centric online platform, and tailored innovation intermediary services. Next to setting up the ´Observatory on Green Customs, Circular Economy, and Sustainability Developments´, PEN-CP is working on following topics:

  • Published: ´A High-Level Framework for Green Customs and Research Agenda´, awarded best poster award at the DGo2022 conference, available on-line

  • Work-in-progress: Annual Study in Green Customs - with sectoral cases e.g. on environmentally friendly destruction of seized cigarettes (Brazil) and de-carbonising customs transportation fleet (Ireland)

Sector specific initiatives

Sector-1: Timber and deforestation-free supply chains 

Policy/ legislative developments

  • Deforestation-free products

  • Regulation (EU) 2023/1115 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 31 May 2023 on the making available on the Union market and the export from the Union of certain commodities and products associated with deforestation and forest degradation and repealing Regulation (EU) No 995/2010

  • Council Regulation (EC) No 2173/2005 of 20 December 2005 on the establishment of a FLEGT licensing scheme for imports of timber into the European Community

  • CITES 

PEN-CP activity 

  • Penday Guest. Sophie Labaste, World Resources Institute (WRI), Penday, 12 June, 2023

  • WRI video as part of the application for the PEN-CP innovation Prize 2023

Sector-2: Textiles

Sector-3: Tobacco

PEN-CP activity 

Studies/ reports

  • The PEN-CP Green Customs Annual Study will feature a case study on how Brazilian customs disposes seized illicit cigarettes in an environmentally friendly way (forthcoming)

Cross sector specific initiatives

Relevant EU policy, legislative and other initiatives

Wooden Chess Pieces

Strategy

Circular Economy Action Plan- Paving the way for a cleaner and more competitive Europe. Policy areas include: Chemicals; Circular economy; Circular economy at the global level; Industry; Plastics; Sustainable development; Waste and recycling

Wind Turbines

Act

Critical Raw Materials Act (CRM Act) - Critical Raw Materials are indispensable for the EU economy and a wide set of necessary technologies for strategic sectors such as renewable energy, digital, space and defence. The CRM Act will ensure EU access to a secure and sustainable supply of critical raw materials, enabling Europe to meet its 2030 climate and digital objectives.

Package with clothes

Proposal

Ecodesign- Proposal for a REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL establishing a framework for setting ecodesign requirements for sustainable products and repealing Directive 2009/125/EC (dated: 30.3.2022)

Fishing Nets

Regulation

Council Regulation (EC) No 1005/2008 of 29 September 2008 establishing a Community system to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, amending Regulations (EEC) No 2847/93, (EC) No 1936/2001 and (EC) No 601/2004 and repealing Regulations (EC) No 1093/94 and (EC) No 1447/1999

Elephant in Wild

Regulation

Protection of species- Council Regulation (EC) No 338/97 of 9 December 1996 on the protection of species of wild fauna and flora by regulating trade therein

Holding Plant

Policy

A European Green Deal - Striving to be the first climate-neutral continent.

 

Eco Set
Regulation

Batteries- REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL concerning batteries and waste batteries, amending Directive 2008/98/EC and Regulation (EU) 2019/1020 and repealing Directive 2006/66/EC

Chopped Tree Trunk

Regulation

Deforestation- Regulation (EU) 2023/1115 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 31 May 2023 on the making available on the Union market and the export from the Union of certain commodities and products associated with deforestation and forest degradation and repealing Regulation (EU) No 995/2010

Pile of Logs

Regulation

FLEGT- Licensing timber- Council Regulation (EC) No 2173/2005 of 20 December 2005 on the establishment of a FLEGT licensing scheme for imports of timber into the European Community

Industrial Smoke

Mechanism

Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) - A landmark tool to put a fair price on the carbon emitted during the production of carbon intensive goods that are entering the EU, and to encourage cleaner industrial production in non-EU countries.

Wooden Chess Pieces

Proposal

EU Customs reform (dated: 17.5.2023)

 

 

Molecules

Regulation

Depletion of the ozone layer- Regulation (EC) No 1005/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 September 2009 on substances that deplete the ozone layer

 

Cheetah

Convention

CITESthe Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora

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