EC outlines resource-efficiency strategy

20th September 2011

Related Topics

Related tags

  • Transport ,
  • Food and drink ,
  • Construction ,
  • Agriculture ,
  • Life Cycle Analysis



EU member states should have virtually eliminated landfilling and halted biodiversity loss by the end of the decade, according to new plans from the European Commission (EC).

In a new strategy document published today (20 September 2011), the commission outlines measures that will safeguard the use of key resources such as water, clean air and ecosystem services, ultimately ensuring the European economy is functioning sustainably and competitively by 2050.

“Green growth is the only sustainable future – for Europe and the world,” said Janez Potočnik environment commissioner. “Industry and environment need to work hand in hand – in the long term our interests are the same.”

Milestones detailed in the “Roadmap to a resource-efficient Europe” include ensuring that by 2020 ecosystem services are properly valued by governments and businesses and that waste has become a managed resource.

While the commission is committed to developing a common approach to measuring and comparing businesses’ environmental footprints, member states are told they must do more to encourage consumers to move towards more resource-efficient products, shifting tax burdens towards polluters, ensuring product prices better reflect the costs of resources and promoting eco-design and eco-labelling.

Alongside increasing economic incentives that reward resource efficiency and investing public funds in better recycling infrastructures, governments must also phase out any subsidies that harm the environment because they prevent industries from investing into green technologies, are harming the environment.

The report focuses in particular on actions for the food, transport and buildings sectors as those are responsible for the greatest share of environmental impacts. Key targets for 2020 include cutting edible food waste by half and reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transport by 1% a year from 2012.

While environmental group Friends of the Earth complained that the proposals lack detail, UK industry body the CBI warned that the plans must take into account Europe’s place within a global market place.

“A competitive, sustainable and low-carbon economy relies on effective resource management and politicians should evaluate the role of public policy in this area,” said Rhian Kelly, CBI director for business environment policy.

“But any proposals must be subject to a full impact assessment to ensure we balance sustainability with improving EU competiveness and securing critical resource supply.”

Similarly, the UK's Department for Transport warned that challenge would be in delivering the intended benefits, not additional burdens on UK taxpayers or businesses.

“It is important that transport plays it part in mitigating climate change and other negative environmental and social impacts,” said a DfT spokesperson. “However, we would urge the Commission to consider alternatives to regulatory options, unless they are absolutely necessary.

“We will also continue to argue for flexibility over where emissions reductions are made within the economy as a whole, and would not support measures that would impact on the UK’s ability to take its own decisions on taxation.”


Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.

Transform articles

Four in five shoppers willing to pay ‘sustainability premium’

Despite cost-of-living concerns, four-fifths of shoppers are willing to pay more for sustainably produced or sourced goods, a global survey has found.

16th May 2024

Read more

One in five UK food businesses are not prepared for EU Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) coming into force in December, a new survey has uncovered.

16th May 2024

Read more

Each person in the UK throws a shocking 35 items of unwanted clothes and textiles into general waste every year on average, according to a new report from WRAP.

2nd May 2024

Read more

The largest-ever research initiative of its kind has been launched this week to establish a benchmark for the private sector’s contribution to the UK’s 2050 net-zero target.

2nd May 2024

Read more

Weather-related damage to homes and businesses saw insurance claims hit a record high in the UK last year following a succession of storms.

18th April 2024

Read more

The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) has issued a statement clarifying that no changes have been made to its stance on offsetting scope 3 emissions following a backlash.

16th April 2024

Read more

One of the world’s most influential management thinkers, Andrew Winston sees many reasons for hope as pessimism looms large in sustainability. Huw Morris reports

4th April 2024

Read more

Vanessa Champion reveals how biophilic design can help you meet your environmental, social and governance goals

4th April 2024

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close