WWF releases five-step plan for ‘truly sustainable’ EU economy

Environmental group WWF has called on the EU to stop spending money trying to rejuvenate the current economy and instead reap the financial benefits of switching to a sustainable system.

The charity today (10 March) published a new report, From crisis to opportunity: Five steps to sustainable European economies, to serve as a roadmap for European policymakers.

Released ahead of a vote on Jean-Claude Juncker’s crucial €300bn economic stimulus plan, the report says the bloc would be better served focusing on the symptoms of the spluttering economy: diminishing natural resources and markets failing to take this into account.

Damages from floods have cost more than €150bn over the past 10 years, air pollution costs around €537bn every year and EU industries import every year more than €300bn of raw materials no longer available in Europe, the report states.

“It’s simple,” said report author Sebastien Godinot. “Sustainable economies can bring huge benefits worth much more than Juncker’s Investment Plan every year and provide up to 20 million jobs by 2020. How? Largely by using less resources and energy, fixing market failures and protecting nature in Europe.”

The report comes less than two weeks after the announcement of a new EU Energy Union, which agreed on a 40% emissions reduction by 2030, below WWF’s proposed target.

The five steps:

1) Update carbon price and energy and emissions targets

 – Aim to achieve: 40% energy efficiency; 45% renewables and 55% emissions reductions by 2030. Reform the carbon market to reach adequate carbon prices.


2) Improve resource efficiency

  – Set up a 2030 resource efficiency target. Value and protect our natural capital; Produce and consume sustainably (circular economy).


3) Fix the financial system

  -Stop environmentally harmful subsidies. Introduce environmental taxes. Make private finance support a real and sustainable economy. 


4) Be an international leader

 – Scale up public financing for global public goods. Ensure corporate reporting and accountability. Support the UN’s renewed Sustainable Development Goals.


5) Connect all steps into a new strategic vision for Europe to 2050

 – Set up five cross-cutting policies for: eco-innovation, green jobs, green public procurement, beyond GDP measurement and consumer empowerment

Brad Allen

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