Steps to sustainability

The last century’s remarkable growth was fuelled by innovation and the use of natural resources, but that era of plentiful and cheap resources is coming to a close. This means we have to make some far-reaching choices. Carrying on as before is not an option – recent calculations show that 60% of the world’s major ecosystems. 

This is why the EU is proposing a path towards sustainability, in the form of a new Roadmap on Resource Efficiency. 

Promoting sustainable practice calls for the right mix of tools. At the European level we need appropriate legislation, which is properly implemented in the member states and complemented by a set of supporting measures. Additionally, we need to change the mindsets of consumers and businesses alike. Consumers have huge power in terms of steering the offer of goods and services. 

Coordinated pan-European research and innovation activities will be key to achieving the required structural shift and critical mass. Eco-innovation in particular will be central to developing environmentally friendly business models that can be replicated across the EU and beyond and provide opportunities for growth and jobs. 

The problem, of course, is also global. In May 2012 representatives from all over the world will gather in Rio de Janeiro for the UN Sustainable Development Convention Conference, in an effort to define the prospects of sustainable development for the next 20 years. It is a unique opportunity that could mark the start of an accelerated and profound worldwide transition towards a green economy.

Original article published at

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