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Resource Efficiency

Report highlights Europe’s progress on decoupling


A report published by the European Environment Agency (EEA) illustrates how the environmental impact of consumption and production of goods and services can be analysed and used to inform policy decisions. The report, 'Progress on resource efficiency and decoupling in the EU-27’, describes the findings of environmentally extended input/output analysis in relation to the Resource Efficiency Roadmap and the 7th Environment Action Programme. Read more…

It was reported that 11 out of 28 EU economic sectors managed to decouple their greenhouse gas emissions from economic growth between 2000 and 2007. This was mainly achieved through increased resource efficiency. However, direct air emissions are still growing in some sectors, with the agriculture, transport and electricity sectors dominating from EU production, while representing only a small part of the EU’s economic output and employment. 

Another key message was that the majority of emissions and material consumption of different EU economic sectors are driven by the demand for products by other industries. Therefore, it was recommended that businesses impose minimum environmental standards on their suppliers and that green procurement practices are implemented. The report also identified six product and services groups that are responsible for over half the direct emissions and material demand caused by the consumption of goods – construction works; food; products of agriculture; utilities (mostly electricity); transport services; and wholesale trade, maintenance and repair services.  

The study was based on Eurostat data for 2000/07. It followed an input/output analysis methodology to determine the progress the EU-27 has made towards decoupling economic growth from environmental impact. The EEA is expected to publish a further analysis in 2016, which will cover the period from 2008 onwards. 

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