4 May 2012

Binding measures needed to achieve green economy

The opinion requested by the Danish presidency of the EU has said that to shift Europe to a green economy based on sustainable production and consumption, voluntary measures need to be supplemented by binding regulatory measures. It was further stated that greener fiscal policies and market-based incentives need to be in place to support this transition. The message was adopted by the European Economic and Social Committee at its plenary session.

An Le Nouail Marlière of the French Workers' Group, rapporteur for the opinion, stated that the EU needs to increase regulatory efforts to phase out unsustainable products, scrap subsidies that do not take full account of negative effects on the environment, and introduce green public procurement policies. The Committee's opinion places the issue of sustainable production and consumption in the context of a broader debate, calling for an overhaul of the economic model. The current model, fixated with GDP indicators and geared towards generating ever more growth and demand, is unfit to create a truly sustainable economy it is argued.

The Committee stated that while unsustainable products are being phased out, it is imperative that public authorities heavily support investment in research on new, eco-friendly products and incentivise businesses to innovate. It was also stated that it is necessary to involve civil society at global, national and local level to successfully transition to a sustainable green economy. To be widely accepted, sustainable production and consumption must be seen by businesses, consumers and workers as a desirable objective.

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