Doing more with less
In a globalised world, it’s not only people who are interconnected. From climate change to global economics, public policy arenas are increasingly linked as well. Addressing these transnational challenges requires the EU to take action using a unified approach – particularly as it relates to sustainable development. True development can only come about through adopting policies that enable people to engage in economic activities that encourage environmental sustainability. This requires important investments in multidisciplinary, collaborative research.
The challenge faced by economies across the EU is to integrate environmental sustainability with economic growth by disassociating environmental degradation with economic growth. In other words, doing more with less. Climate action, the sustainable use of natural resources, the current economic crisis call for even more thorough attention to the interconnectedness of the environment and the economy. And in light of economic downturn, the EU must continue to keep its eyes on pressing for measures that help SMEs, which create the most new jobs. Environmental research programmes in FP7 foster the development of environmental technologies, which will help offset the global financial crisis. Sustainable consumption and production maximises business' potential to transform environmental challenges into economic opportunities and provides a better deal for consumers. The overall test will be to improve environmental performance of products, boost the demand for better production technologies and help consumers in making informed choices.
Dealing with current and future challenges will require further investment in environmental R&D. The environment is an area where collaborative research provides strong European added value. In cooperation with its extensive network of stakeholders both within and external to the EU, DG Research is actively identifying ways for a sustainable management of the environment that is also socially and economically viable. Specifically, the EU endeavours to address interactions between the climate, biosphere, ecosystems and human activities. Equally important is to develop new technologies, tools and services that address global environmental issues and foster innovative solutions to pave the way for a low-carbon economy. Further development of technologies for monitoring, preventing and mitigating environmental pressures and risks is essential to improve citizens' welfare.