Natural resources are getting scarcer, national economies are stretched and so are households budgets. We all need to become more resource efficient. By choosing greener products and services, you can save money, lead a healthier life, reduce your environmental footprint and support the move towards a greener, more circular economy. But faced with an ever wider variety of consumer items, it's not always easy to choose the right one.
The European Commission has developed policies and tools to help identify green products and reward sustainable production practices.
The EU Ecolabel identifies products and services that have a reduced environmental impact throughout their life cycle, from the extraction of raw material through to production, use and disposal. It makes it easier for consumers to make greener choices without having to compromise on product quality.
The Commission has also developed legislation to reduce the consumption of lightweight carrier bags and the environmental impact of packaging and packaging waste.
Europe's public authorities are major consumers. Making full use of the Green Public Procurement (GPP) instrument, they can greatly contribute to sustainable consumption and production by harnessing their purchasing power to choose environmentally friendly goods, services and works.
Retailers can also help promote sustainability via their daily contact with millions of consumers. The Retail Forum works on promoting more environmentally friendly and energy-efficient products as well as providing better information to consumers on how to use products in the most ecologically efficient way.
There are also great opportunities for resource efficiency in the building sector, which accounts for half of the EU's consumption of extracted materials and energy, and for a third of its waste and water use.
The Commission develops standards, for instance on how long products should last or how easy they should be to repair and recycle, and it also supports sustainable consumption via certain aspects of the EU consumer law, such as the rules on unfair commercial practices, which prohibit misleading green claims.
Together, we can develop a green, resource-efficient, low-carbon circular economy.
Check out what else the Commission is doing to foster green growth.