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Let’s get circular but avoid re-inventing the wheel

Sallamaari Muhonen, CEO of the Electrotechnical Trade Association in Finland, sees the standardized digital product data as essential for implementing a circular economy. Instead of reinventing the wheel, a circular economy should be built on existing product databases and standardized data.

Ms. Muhonen represented The European Union of Electrical Wholesalers at the EuroCommerce Wholesale Day 2021 event discussing the circular economy.

In the panel section, his interlocutors were Mr. William Neale, Adviser to the European Commission, DG ENVI, Ms. Dorothee Arns, Director of FECC, the European Association of Chemical Distributors and Mr. Thierry Mugnier, Executive Director & CFO at Nexus Automotive International.

The circular economy can be summed up as a successful combination of product lifecycle activities enabled by digital data, Muhonen said.

She sees that the Finnish wholesalers and industry are pioneers in the management of product data, especially for electrotechnical products. Consistent work on standardized data has been going on decades together with manufacturers, importers, and wholesalers.

In recent years, we have also developed the standard product data in accordance with the international ETIM standard. Our digital product database and related services are widely utilized throughout the value chain. Furthermore, the industry is committed to the product database voluntarily due to the fact that it enables productivity and gains for all.

The Wholesale Day discussions concluded that the aim is to promote the circular economy by combining data from existing product databases and avoiding the creation of new databases. The administrative burden to the industry and wholesalers should not increase out of proportion.

Among the challenges of the future, the carbon footprint calculation of buildings was highlighted. As a solution, Sallamaari Muhonen proposed the need for a uniform calculation method for different construction products, which would be accepted throughout Europe. It is important to avoid the barrier to trade which could be created by - intentional or coincidental - differences in national calculation methods.

For those of you who would like to see the panel discussion firsthand, EuroCommerce shared the entire debate on their YouTube channel.


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