Parliament must be on 13.1. Make a clear commitment to the popular climate initiative and direct investments in the social circular economy, re-use and repair
One thing has meanwhile been proven: Without a drastic reduction in our resource consumption, the consequences of climate change can no longer be averted. Because raw material extraction and processing are responsible for 50% of all climate emissions. Circular economy offers an effective solution model here, as it keeps products in use for as long as possible, for example through repair, re-use and alternative consumption models (rental, sharing, etc.) RepaNet therefore supports the demand of the climate people's request for true costs and an eco-social tax reform and calls on the Environment Committee to create strong incentive systems for the reuse of products.
“Price dumping, for example, for electrical appliances that contain valuable mineral raw materials - in short: climate damage at low prices must simply be a thing of the past in the future. Conversely, it must be rewarded if goods are kept in circulation for longer, because re-use and repair generate a considerable climate effect, as we show in our market survey: In 2019, 440.000 tonnes of CO2 equivalents were saved in Austria - this corresponds to the Emissions from over 45.000 Austrians, ”explains RepaNet managing director Matthias Neitsch. Truthfulness of the cost of consumer goods is therefore central to RepaNet, as it hangs a price tag on the so-called “ecological rucksack” of a product: Costs that were previously hidden - because they were externalized - are made visible and made financially tangible.
The reduction in VAT on small repairs, which was decided in 2020, hits this notch - but more ambitious incentives are needed that are more noticeable for consumers. "As long as a repair service costs more than the corresponding new product, many people will continue to decide to save costs and harm the climate." Neitsch sums it up. A nationwide repair bonus with a claim guarantee and a large budget could help. It has recently been shown in Vienna that the funding model is well received in the federal states.
With the promotion of the circular economy, as envisaged in the government program, new jobs will also be created. In view of the economic effects of the corona crisis, this is a desirable social side effect. “Our members open up new opportunities for the disadvantaged in the circular economy. For years we have been calling for a stable funding system to secure your services. In fact, however, their situation has become increasingly precarious in recent years. While collection volumes increase - this was particularly noticeable during the first lockdown - the increased effort of intensive manual work has to be carried out by fewer and fewer people, ”says Neitsch, summarizing the increasing difficulties of the socio-economic circular economy companies. In order for these to continue to provide jobs for the disadvantaged and to be able to provide their ecological performance, long-term secured cross-financing is required, which grants the companies more planning security. This could be guaranteed by reallocating subsidy funds. "The time of climate-damaging subsidies, for example for air traffic, has long passed - instead, investments must be made in economic forms that are sustainable and future-proof - for the environment and people," Neitsch emphasizes.
The efforts of the re-use and repair network Austria RepaNet (and its members) to establish a social and fair circular economy are diverse - for example in the projects Let'sFIXit (Culture of repair in schools), Construction carousel (Re-use in construction) and sachspenden.at (Information platform for textile re-use). But without a resolute political commitment to climate protection, the responsibility for this will continue to be shifted from industry and trade to consumers. However, climate protection must happen at all levels and appropriate incentives are needed for this.
On January 13th the second meeting of the Environment Committee on the People's Climate Initiative will take place. With the climate popular initiative, around 400.000 Austrians have given the government a clear mandate. In addition to true costs, eco-social tax reform and the stop of climate-damaging subsidies, this is the call for climate protection to be anchored in the constitution, a binding CO2 budget for Austria and a sustainable mobility and energy transition. RepaNet supports these requirements in full. “Decision-makers must finally see that we cannot achieve enough without a radical restructuring of our economic system. That is why we call on Parliament to make a clear decision on January 13th for climate protection and the demands of the popular initiative for climate change, ”concludes Neitsch.
You can find more information about the services of RepaNet members in the RepaNet market survey 2019.
Photo by Rob Morton on Unsplash.
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