In March an EU platform with several commissioners and stakeholders proposed the following manifesto. (Click on the image to download the PDF).
In a world with growing pressures on resources and the environment, the EU has no choice but to transition to a resource-efficient and ultimately regenerative circular economy. Our future jobs and competitiveness, as a major importer of resources, are dependent on our ability to get more added value, and achieve overall decoupling, through a systemic change in the use and recovery of resources in the economy.
Have a read of the manifesto and see what you think.
My key takeaways:
* I couldn’t agree more with this document but its potential is even greater – We could easily achieve 50% resource efficiency, compared to the proposed 30%.
* We need to move to a system where products with lower environmental life cycle footprints are incentivised. Not just incentivising efficient energy-using products, but more embodied carbon efficient products as well.
* Today we live in a product economy. Services are expensive because they rely on people. But the service economy is the local economy (as opposed to growing bananas in Devon). We need more history teachers, more hairdressers, more live music and less products.
* In the building sector the opportunities as huge. Buildings could be designed to use 80% less energy and 60% less embodied energy.
* We need to ban landfill across Europe and have strong taxes on waste for energy plants. That will give stronger signals than wasting public money on betting that some technology will soon arrive, and giving grants here and there while the system does not reward recyclability.
* Let’s not forget the link between carbon, resources and recyclability. Taxing carbon at a product tax level would encourage recycling, since products with recycled materials have significantly less impact than virgin raw materials.
* Shifting taxes away from jobs to resources is another shift we have to make. What a shame that the EU Commission can not be more forceful on this. National governments are unlikely to become the revolutionaries.