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Resource efficiency


Using natural resources more efficiently, we can live healthier lives, save money, create jobs, boost our economy and respect the limits of the planet.

Resource efficiency makes economic sense. It is the one basic principle that underpins the entire circular economy strategy and it is fundamental to green growth. By using fewer resources, in a more efficient manner, Europe can retain its competitive edge, create green growth, sustainable jobs and better protect the environment.

Turning the Union into a resource-efficient, green and competitive low-carbon economy is one of the three objectives of the 7th Environment Action Programme. To reach this objective, we need to apply resource efficiency to every step of the product lifecycle: we must harness eco-innovation to design smarter products, produce and consume in a more intelligent fashion, recycle and reduce waste altogether.

The Commission actively supports businesses, administrations and consumers so that together, we can develop a green, resource-efficient, low-carbon circular economy and contribute to the environmental dimension of the global Sustainable Development Goals. Part of the Europe 2020 Strategy for a smart, inclusive and sustainable economy, the Roadmap to a Resource-Efficient Europe outlines ways to increase resource productivity and decouple economic growth from resource use and its environmental impact.

The Commission also aims to improve resource efficiency in more specific areas, such as in the building and food sectors, as well as in SMEs, and to turn waste into a resource.

Environmental economics is about managing the scarce resources of the environment. The Commission has financed a number of studies that show that market-based instruments are often the most efficient way to tackle an environmental problem. In order to measure societal progress beyond purely economic aspects, the Commission is also developing indicators that go beyond GDP.

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Earlier initiatives

Check out what else the Commission is doing to foster green growth.

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