In a recent blog post here at London Registrars, we took a closer look at the increasing pertinence of the circular economy and the associated importance for all manner of organisations of adopting and embracing circular models.

What we did not specifically address in that blog post, however, was the emerging regulation on this issue in both the UK and the European Union (EU).

Environmental regulations that are relevant to companies’ aspirations towards circularity are becoming broader based and more prominent, and it is crucial for affected businesses to keep up to date with the latest changes.

The regulatory and legal picture that today’s firms must be aware of

One important aspect to consider for businesses looking to adopt circular models is the competition implications potentially arising from certain initiatives and collaborations. Even if the intention is to promote sustainability, any agreements that restrict competition, or practices that represent an abuse of a dominant position, could be scrutinised from a competition perspective.

With regard to the present situation in the EU, the European Green Deal outlines the bloc’s strategy to transform its economy while achieving net-zero carbon emissions.

The EU’s first circular economic strategy, launched in 2015, saw the introduction of four waste directives. In March 2020, the EU introduced its new circular economy action plan, which is a key part of the Green Deal package. Various measures are planned, including renewed action on waste as well as a consumer right to repair. It is thought that further initiatives will be announced in such sectors as plastics, packaging and textiles.

As for the UK, the Government and the devolved administrations released a joint policy statement in July 2020 reiterating that the UK was committed to making a circular economy a reality. Existing EU environmental legislation was retained into UK law when the Brexit transition period concluded, but the UK is not obliged to implement further EU circular economy legislative measures brought in since 1 January 2021.

At the time of writing, the Environment Bill – with measures including the extension of producer responsibility schemes – was making its way through Parliament, reaching the stage of a third reading in the House of Lords.

Our corporate governance expertise can help guide your firm through the new era

With much focus turning to the concrete means by which a truly circular economy can be achieved across the UK and the EU, your organisation is also likely to appreciate expert and informed assistance on all manner of aspects of its corporate governance, risk management and compliance.

Our knowhow in the best company secretarial practice for PLCs and other organisations leaves us well-placed to serve these needs that your firm may have. Enquire to our team today, and we will be pleased to outline how we could assist you in 2021 and beyond.

September 2021