A recent study has proposed a new economic tool designed to encourage a more sustainable production and consumption.
To ensure that the environmental impact of products is reflected in their cost, the authors of the research recommend a System of Green Value Added Tax (VAT) based on the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA).
The importance of decoupling environmental degradation from economic growth is highlighted by the EU’s Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe and Sustainable Consumption and Production and Sustainable Industrial Policy Action Plan.
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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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According to a recent survey, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) of the 27 EU Member States should focus on and develop more specific policies and strategies related to three core themes, such as “resource efficiency“, “green markets” and “environmental jobs” to meet the European Sustainability Targets up to 2020.
The survey, requested by the European Commission Directorate General Enterprise and Industry, and coordinated by the Directorate General for Communication, was carried out between the 24th of January and the 10th of February 2012, and covered businesses employing one or more persons in the manufacturing, retail, services and industry sectors within the European Union.
The results of the survey could be considered a test about the European SMEs’ attitudes towards the environment. But, why SMEs are so important for the economic, social and political future of the European Community? Let’s give few numbers: there are 20,8 million SMEs in the European Union, representing 99% of all businesses and providing around 90 million jobs in the internal market.
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