Resource efficiency key to steering off ecological default

[20th September 2011, Brussels] – The EEB welcomed the Commission’s plans released today aiming to transform the EU economy into a resource-efficient one but warned that unless followed up with effective regulatory instruments, this switch is unlikely to be smooth.

According to the EEB, this Communication starts to outline the contours of what an EU policy on natural resources could look like and what it might deliver.

However, whether this constitutes a “departure from business as usual” and will lead to a ”decoupling of resource consumption from economic growth”, as announced in the earlier released flagship initiative remains to be seen.

“Europe will need to find a way to exit the current euro-crisis which will lead to an absolute and significant reduction in its consumption of resources, if it is to avoid ecological default”, commented Pieter de Pous, Policy Director at EEB. .

The EEB is therefore encouraged to see a clear commitment to develop and adopt targets and indicators for key resources such as land, carbon and water, phasing out harmful subsidies by 2020 and a greening of the tax base, all of which are important to bring down consumption.

The environmental group however points out that unless these commitments are followed by strong and effective regulatory measures little will change.

“Either we will regulate the EU to become a resource-efficient economy or we will keep on dreaming about it”, continued Pieter de Pous.

The EU’s eco-design directive has shown its value in reducing the consumption of energy resources of products. If it is to do the same for all resources, it will require the adoption of binding targets.

The Commission’s explicit commitment to use the 2014 review of the EU’s waste policies to bring down residual waste to close to zero is particularly encouraging.

One important proposal contained in the Roadmap will deal with the “indirect land use change” impacts of the existing renewable energy policy which, the EEB stresses, is long overdue.

More disturbing however is the ambiguity in the Commission’s intentions to actually start applying resource efficiency considerations for the impact assessments of its own policy proposals, something they will only ‘consider how to do best’.

The EEB will be calling on EU decision makers to step up their game and turn political intentions outlined in the Roadmap into effective action to bring about substantial reductions in Europe’s excessive use of resources.

Pieter DE POUS, EEB Policy Director,, +32 (0) 2 289 13 06.

For more information on Resource efficiency and find the Roadmap please see: