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6 ways embodied energy could shape policy in Europe

Reflect the 6 ways that energy can influence European policy

There are many ways to calculate the implied energy contained in a product. In our latest newsletter, based on Eunomia's research, we discussed how to apply specific energy indicators to European product policies to promote the development of circular economy and increase the retention rate of precious resources in an increasingly closed cycle.

Implied energy is a widely used and well-developed concept defined as "the total energy demand directly or indirectly related to the delivery of goods or services." Regarding the circular economy in Europe, the recyclable components of the product, or its durability and life cycle, are rarely considered from an environmental perspective in the design stage. By including the concept of implied energy in product policies, it can be used to encourage the redesign of consumer products, retaining implied energy through the use of recycled materials, extended life cycles, durability or repairability.

This briefing paper presents 6 preliminary recommendations on how to incorporate and use this concept to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the energy contained in our products and encourage improvements in the circular economy:

The use of implicit energy in product policies can also strengthen our recent call for greater use of economic incentives in circular economy policies. Our report "Rethinking Separately Collected Economic Incentives" highlights many different products that may be subject to new incentive-based reward programs.

A full briefing on specific energies can be downloaded on our website, which describes these recommendations in more detail.

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