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Published on December 4, 2014

Editorial 1 The scarcity of natural resources, according to EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker‘s political guidelines, is one of the priority challenges facing EU policy in the coming years. As ACE marks its 20th Anniversary, reviews its past performance and looks to the future, the sustainable management of resources used in our packaging throughout its life-cycle is and will remain our core commitment. Representing one of the world’s largest packaging systems for liquid food, we make this our dening contribution to the EU’s circular economy goal. President Juncker, in a timely initiative, has called for an assessment of the circular economy communication and legislative package proposed by the previous Commission. ACE’s view is that, in its current form, the communication is overly focused on the resource efciency gains at the end-of-life phase, i.e. recycling of products and packaging, important as this is. It ignores the signicant primary material intake into the economy, the constant need for which requires global supply chains to meet it. These inputs must be sourced in environmentally and socially acceptable conditions if the EU is to contribute to sustainable and inclusive growth in Europe and worldwide. Requiring responsible sourcing will make competition fair and spur innovation. In consequence ACE calls attention to three priority areas: responsible sourcing, recycling and innovation. Responsible sourcing is an essential ingredient for the EU’s circular economy ambition. In the case of our sector, the beverage carton is made on average of 75% paperboard, sourced from wood. Seven years ago ACE carton manufacturing companies pledged that by 2015, all wood bre used in their carton packaging would come from certied legal and acceptable sources. Now 93% fullled, this Chain of Custody commitment has contributed directly to the avoidance of unwanted social and environmental impacts and thus to resource benets. Echoing the European Resource Efciency Platform’s call for sustainable sourcing standards, ACE urges the Commission to acknowledge the role of primary material input into the economy and the need for its sourcing to be responsible if the circular economy is to be put on a rm and acceptable footing. The EU circular economy policy must recognize renewable materials as the only long-term alternative to achieving security in primary material supplies. Recycling is clearly the main tool for meeting the EU’s 2030 objective of “keeping resources within the economy”, once they have entered it responsibly. Indeed, the logic of moving towards zero landll demands an all-out THE CONTRIBUTION OF SUSTAINABLE RESOURCE MANAGEMENT TO A CIRCULAR ECONOMY KEY ROLES FOR RESPONSIBLE SOURCING, RECYCLING AND INNOVATION