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Thursday, 2 February 2012

The Economic Cloud has a Green Lining

Two high-level reports launched this week have called for the urgent implementation of measures to bring about the shift to a greener global economy. Both reports emphasise that such measures as introducing tax incentives for low-carbon options in products and services may provide the stimulus needed to pull the global economy out of recession.

Calling on the EU to become “a champion of sustainability”, a report released by respected Brussels think-thank the European Policy Centre (EPC) says it’s time for all stakeholders in the EU to get behind the goal of making the Innovation Union a reality. According to the EPC, the ecological know-how already exists to get greener alternatives onto the market and into everyday use.

To drive green growth, we need to stimulate demand for a single market of environmentally-friendly products by removing barriers to eco-innovation, stressed Alan Seatter, Deputy Director-General of the European Commission’s Environment Directorate-General, at the EPC’s report launch.
Barriers to eco-innovation identified by the EPC report include a lack of strong incentives for producers to develop products from recycled materials and high trade tariffs on environmental goods. The EPC report further acknowledges that without public acceptance, it will be difficult to create a sustainable society with eco-efficient solutions to the economic crisis.
A second report presented to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday 30 January in Addis Ababa by the High-level Panel on Global Sustainability, titled “Resilient People, Resilient Planet: A Future Worth Choosing”, also called for the integration of social and environmental costs into the pricing and measurements of economic activities.
The UN Panel recommended that governments develop and apply a set of Sustainable Development Goals that can mobilise global action and help monitor progress. These policy developments are a timely contribution to preparations for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in Brazil this summer. For more on this report, see our earlier blog post.
Blog by Neil Bradley

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