What Factors and Mega Trends are Shaping the Production-Consumption Systems in Europe?

Factors and Mega Trends Shaping European Production and Consumption System

 

According to the European Environmental Agency (EEA) – in measuring progress towards green economy, resource efficiency and ecosystem resilience – the overall process of social and economic transition could be divided into social, technological, economic, environmental and political global mega trends.

Between 2013 and 2014, the EEA has addressed several aspects of the green economy, and developed an integrated perspective that embraces some global dimensions and focuses on environmental impacts of production and consumption systems.

These various dimensions have far-reaching implications for individual nations and citizens; in particular, there are several factors and global mega trends within the European production and consumption systems that create serious environmental consequences, as follows:

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A New Proposal for the 7th EU Environment Action Program to 2020

Proposal for a new EU Environment Action Programme to 2020

 

The European Commission proposed a New General Union Environment Action Program (7th EAP) in November 2012 to guide the EU Environment Policy up to 2020.

Entitled “Living Well, Within the Limits of Our Planet“, the proposal sets out a clear vision of where Europe should be in the long term; in particular, it aims to enhance Europe’s ecological resilience and transform the European Union into an inclusive and sustainable green economy.

The EAP has the three-fold aim of achieving an inclusive green economy, whilst protecting the natural capital and the health of European citizens.

Specifically, protecting natural capital, encouraging more resource efficiency and accelerating the transition to the low-carbon economy are key features of the Program, which also seeks to tackle environmental causes of disease.

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EU-funded SMEs Demonstrate Job Creation and Green Growth

Eco-Innovation and Greener Business in Europe

 

According to a recent report of the European Commission, investment in SMEs working in the area of environmentally innovative technologies is producing above-average returns, while all creating valuable jobs and also alleviating relevant environmental impacts.

The performance of young SMEs funded in 2011-2012 under the Eco-Innovation component of the EU’s Competitiveness and Innovation Programme (CIP) have shown very impressive results.

The new report, “Analysing and Reporting the Results Achieved by the CIP Eco-Innovation Market Replication Projects”, has been commissioned by the Executive Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation (EACI) on behalf of EU DG Environment and undertaken by ICF GHK.

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Most of Europeans Concerned on the Environmental Impact of Products

EU Sustainable Consuption and Production

 

A recent survey says 80% of Europeans would be prepared to change their purchasing habits and buy more environmentally-friendly products, but many feel they lack information and distrust manufacturers’ environmental claims. The European Commission Survey on the “Attitudes of Europeans towards building the single market for green products” indicates that more than three-quarters of respondents are willing to pay more for environmentally-friendly products if they were confident the products are truly environmentally-friendly (77%). Slightly more than half of EU citizens feel informed (55%) on the environmental impacts of products they buy and use.

Certainly, EU policy makers and citizens want to see more green products on shelves, but this survey shows that most of the people are confused by green claims and don’t trust them. That’s not good for consumers, and it is not rewarding those companies that are really making an effort. That’s why the EU Commission is working with companies and other stakeholders to develop the credible information consumers are looking for when they buy products. This will help open up new opportunities for innovation and investment in the green economy.

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A Sustainable Innovation Governance to Solve Environmental and Social Problems

On 16/07/2012, in Corporate Sustainability, Eco-Innovation, Environmental Policy, by Dr. Paola Fiore

 

Sustainability, Innovation and Governance could be easily considered as the three long-term fundamentals of any effective public policy and business strategy to achieve competitiveness and growth, promote economic recovery and solve environmental and social problems.

Although we usually refer to innovation as “technological innovation” – the process through which new, or improved, technologies are developed and brought into widespread use – we need to remember that also “social and environmental innovation” is necessary to help society to adapt to present and future social and environmental challenges.

As discussions on technological innovations develop, an increased recognition for the need of new governance approaches, tools and authorities also arise. These new approaches move away from the current, narrow focus about risk assessment based on scientific evidence, to ones more adaptive, which include societal engagement and participation as central elements.

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