All human life is based on the consumption of material resources to meet our
But, in the past 30 years alone, our consumption of natural raw materials has more than doubled.
A green economy respects the ecological limits of our planet and redresses the inequalities that our current patterns of consumption rely upon.
What is the issue?
It is well recognised that the acceleration in the use of natural resources is unsustainable and that the developed economies of the world face mounting risks from resource depletion, climate change and social injustice.
In 2008, the European Union inaugurated the Raw Materials Initiative. And in 2010, European Environment Commissioner Janic Potocnic announced a Flagship Initiative on resource efficiency as part of the EU’s Europe 2020 programme. The UK government is also beginning to recognise the business risks associated with diminishing raw material access and availability.
What we want to see
Many of the proposed measures to address these issues focus on the supply side rather than on managing demand, and are only concerned with scarce materials such as rare earth metals.
However, a green economy needs to reduce the consumption of all resources, both abiotic (such as minerals and ores) and biotic (such as food crops, fish stocks and wider biodiversity).
Prices also need to reflect the social and environmental costs of our consumption and production patterns.
We champion extended producer responsibility and encourage Government to offer incentives to companies that improve the environmental performance of their operations, products and services.
We also urge business and government to take on greater environmental stewardship through reliable and transparent information and by using public procurement to invest in best available technologies.