Sustainable growth - for a resource efficient, greener and more competitive economy
Sustainable growth means:
- building a more competitive low-carbon economy that makes efficient, sustainable use of resources
protecting the environment, reducing emissions and preventing biodiversity loss
- capitalising on Europe's leadership in developing new green technologies and production methods
- introducing efficient smart electricity grids
harnessing EU-scale networks to give our businesses (especially small manufacturing firms) an additional competitive advantage
improving the business environment, in particular for SMEs
helping consumers make well-informed choices.
EU targets for sustainable growth include:
- 1. reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20% compared to
1990 levels by 2020. The EU is prepared to go further and reduce by 30% if
other developed countries make similar commitments and developing countries
contribute according to their abilities, as part of a comprehensive global
- 2. increasing the share of renewables in final energy
consumption to 20%
- 3. moving towards a 20% increase in energy efficiency
> All EU-level targets
How will the EU boost sustainable growth?
Through 2 flagship initiatives:
- 1. Resource-efficient Europe
To support the shift towards a resource-efficient, low-carbon economy, our economic growth must be decoupled from resource and energy use by:
- reducing CO2 emissions
- promoting greater energy security.
- reducing the resource intensity of what we use and consume
- 2. An industrial policy for the globalisation era
The EU needs an industrial policy that will support businesses – especially small businesses – as they respond to globalisation, the economic crisis and the shift to a low-carbon economy, by:
This policy can only be devised by working closely with business, trade unions, academics, NGOs and consumer organisations.
- supporting entrepreneurship – to make European business fitter and more competitive
- covering every part of the increasingly international value chain – from access to raw materials to after-sales service.
> All Europe 2020 flagship initiatives
Why does Europe need sustainable growth?
Over-dependence on fossil fuels
Our dependence on oil, gas and coal:
- leaves consumers and businesses vulnerable to harmful and costly price shocks,
- threatens our economic security
- contributes to climate change.
Global competition for natural resources will intensify and put pressure on the environment. The EU can help reduce these pressures through its sustainable development policies.
- To achieve our climate goals, we need to reduce emissions more quickly and harness new technologies such as wind and solar power and carbon capture and sequestration.
- We must strengthen our economies' resilience to climate risks, and our capacity for disaster prevention and response.
- The EU needs to improve its productivity and competitiveness. It must maintain its early lead in green solutions, especially in the face of growing competition from China and North America.
- Meeting our energy goals could save €60 billion on Europe's bill for oil and gas imports by 2020 – essential for both energy security and economic reasons.
- Further integration of the European energy market can boost GDP by 0.6% to 0.8%.
- Meeting 20% of Europe's energy needs from renewable sources could create over 600 000 jobs in the EU – and an additional 400 000 if we meet the 20% energy-efficiency target.
- Our emission-reduction commitments should be met in a way that maximises benefits and minimises costs – including through the spread of innovative technological solutions.