2024-04-01 VDE dialog

Editorial: "Extended Responsibility"

The circular economy is a key building block of sustainable business.

By that I mean above all, but by no means exclusively, sustainability in terms of environmental and climate protection. After all, our current (linear) way of doing business is clearly bad for our world, which is a place we all want to live a little longer. Furthermore, the resource consumption it entails is simply inefficient, and thus economically unsustainable. That means taking a very serious look at such issues is anything but “green nonsense”; it's an entirely rational and pragmatic necessity. This is especially true for a country like Germany, which is not blessed with rich deposits of raw materials.

Portrait photo of Burkhard Holder, Director, Innovations and Trends, VDE

“Recyclability can no longer be an added bonus. It's a must!”

The recyclability of products manufactured here can therefore no longer be just an added bonus. It's a must! This is a message that seems to be gradually getting through to German companies, even if it is taking a bit too long in some cases. Germany is actually in an ideal position to become a leading provider in a new market with new circular business models, products and services. If we get it right, “Made in Germany” could be synonymous with sustainable quality in the future. Extended Producer Responsibility would then not be an onerous burden; it could even present a new opportunity for our country.

In order for this transformation to succeed, we have to set a proper course now! This is precisely where the Circular Economy Standardization Roadmap comes in, which was published at the beginning of the year – with significant contributions from VDE (DKE) – and submitted to the Federal Ministry for the Environment. In Germany, we have plenty of technological expertise and innovative strength. What we are lacking at the European level, however, are the appropriate “ground rules”.

You can read about this topic and much more in the current issue of VDE dialog. I hope you find it an interesting and stimulating read.

Yours truly,

Burkhard Holder, Director, Innovations and Trends, VDE

Senator, Senate of Economy, Germany

VDE dialog - the technology magazine