TALLINN – Estonia will help companies become more resource-efficient and reduce the negative impact of their activities on the environment with the help of European Union structural subsidies until 2029, a total of 111 million euros will be invested to promote the circular economy.
Kaupo Heinma, deputy secretary general of the Ministry of the Environment for environmental management, said that the promotion of the circular economy is an integral part of the green turn.
"The Estonian economy must become more sustainable and resource-efficient in order to preserve our environment on the one hand, but also to ensure the long-term competitiveness of companies on the other," Heinma added.
"In order to accelerate sustainable development and support companies in their efforts in the environmental field, we designed a support measure from the structural funds in the previous period. With this, we want to increase Estonia's resource productivity, that is, the amount of money we get per kilogram of raw material. Figuratively speaking, we are helping companies squeeze more juice out of one lemon," he said.
Companies are adopting more energy-efficient and innovative technologies together with supporting IT solutions in order to increase resource efficiency. This helps save resources, make Estonian companies more sustainable and increase their competitiveness on the international market.
According to the Ministry of the Environment, companies have shown great interest in reducing their environmental footprint and contributing to the achievement of climate and circular economy goals. Companies have been successful in enhancing production, but despite this, it is still necessary to further promote this area. Therefore, the state will support industrial and service sector companies from EU structural funds in the period 2021-2027.
Altogether 6 million euros from the structural funds will be used to promote the introduction of circular economy-based production and consumption models; 10 million euros to prevent and reduce waste generation and packaging and to promote the reuse of products; 35.5 million euros to support infrastructure for waste collection by type; 25 million euros to increase recycling capacity and ensure safe material circulation, and 34.5 million euros to increase energy and resource efficiency in the industry and service sector and support audits.
From the measure opened at the beginning of 2017, 178 projects with a total amount of nearly 66 million euros have received support for investments. This has resulted in an additional 124 million euros of private sector funds. 163 projects have been completed to date.
The highest number of beneficiaries of the resource efficiency measure were from the wood sector, but there were also many beneficiaries in the metal products and mining industry sectors.