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Green week 2011 – getting more out of using less - 23/05/2011

Poster with url for green week, 24-27 May 2011: http://ec.europa.eu/greenweek © EU

European experts feed debate on the EU's approach to protecting, preserving and improving the environment.

We depend on resources like metals, minerals, fuels, water, timber, fertile soil and clean air for our survival – and for a healthy modern economy.

Since these resources are limited, we must use them more sustainably. Achieving a resource-efficient Europe is an EU priority, part of the Europe 2020 strategy, for sustainable growth and jobs.

Some 3 500 scientists, business leaders, environmental advocates and government officials are gathering in Brussels this week to exchange views on how best to meet this goal.

Opportunities

This year's Green Week forum isn't just about setting constraints on consumption. Achieving resource efficiency presents a vast array of opportunities for growth and jobs as we move toward less waste, a cleaner environment, and better, more sustainable choices for consumers.

The Commission has already set out proposals on the smart use of natural resources, protecting the environment and driving economic growth. The approach – to be discussed during Green Week – aims to help boost efficiency, productivity and competitiveness.

Competitive economy

Companies that efficiently use raw materials, water and other manufacturing inputs for their products are able to cut costs, making them more competitive.

Some industries are already innovating and reaping the rewards. For example, cement manufacturers are starting to use alternative fuels, raw materials and recycled waste to reduce CO2 emissions, energy costs and waste.

More efficient use of the Earth's natural resources feeds into the EU's common goals on climate change, energy, transport, raw materials, agriculture, fisheries, biodiversity and regional development.

This week's talks will also cover such topics as greener chemicals, green skills, employment and innovation, financing eco-innovation and turning waste into a resource.

Encouraging innovation

Lastly, the forum will showcase nature projects with a positive impact on the environment – co-funded through the EU's LIFE programme.

The Stream project, for example, demonstrated a range of innovative river restoration techniques along the UK’s River Avon (Dorset/Somerset).

Some 30 events are also scheduled to take place outside of Brussels, including in Slovenia and Poland.

More on the EU's approach to the environment

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