8 January 2015

EU must examine products produced abroad to embrace green economy

The large quantity of products manufactured outside of the European Union means that the EU must look beyond its borders to ensure that it fully embraces the green economy, the Environmental Indicator Report 2014, published by the European Environment Agency (EEA), has stated.

The report notes that “around half of some pressures from EU consumption are exerted outside the EU, including land use, water use and some air pollutant emissions, partly because consumer goods are increasingly produced abroad.” It argues that EU policymakers should analyse supply chains to identify areas in which environmental impact is the greatest, and find ways to help shift towards more sustainable modes of production. The report delves into the supply chains for food, clothing and electrical equipment imported into the EU.

Although the report does not criticise European consumers’ reliance on products produced abroad, seeing it as a source of jobs and income particularly for poorer countries, it notes that consumers, businesses, retailers and policymakers all have a part to play in embracing new business models that reduce environmental impacts. The report also found that purchasing higher quality products means that items do not have to be replaced as frequently, and so should be favoured.

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