A3.9.2 Continued…


Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe

The European Commission have also published “Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe” (in September 2011. This sets out a vision and series of milestones needed to meet that vision:


Designing the Roadmap

The Vision: By 2050 the EU’s economy has grown in a way that respects resource constraints and planetary boundaries, thus contributing to global economic transformation. Our economy is competitive, inclusive and provides a high standard of living with much lower environmental impacts. All resources are sustainably managed, from raw materials to energy, water, air, land and soil. Climate change milestones have been reached, while biodiversity and the ecosystem services it underpins have been protected, valued and substantially restored.

Resource efficient development is the route to this vision. It allows the economy to create more with less, delivering greater value with less input, using resources in a sustainable way and minimising their impacts on the environment. In practice, this requires that the stocks of all environmental assets from which the EU benefits or sources its global supplies are secure and managed within their maximum sustainable yields. It will also require that residual waste is close to zero and that ecosystems have been restored, and systemic risks to the economy from the environment have been understood and avoided. A new wave of innovation will be required.

Source: 20.9.11, European Commission, “Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe”


The present road map is not the ultimate response to all challenges. It is a first step towards designing a coherent action framework that cuts across different policy areas and sectors. Its objective is to provide a stable perspective for transforming the economy. The Commission will prepare policy and legislative proposals to implement this Roadmap. Without the engagement of other public and private actors we will not achieve our resource efficiency objectives.

Source: 20.9.11, European Commission, “Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe”

Some of the (many) milestones included in this roadmap are:

  • By 2020, citizens and public authorities have the right incentives to choose the most resource efficient products and services, through appropriate price signals and clear environmental information. Their purchasing choices will stimulate companies to innovate and to supply more resource efficient goods and services. Minimum environmental performance standards are set to remove the least resource efficient and most polluting products from the market. Consumer demand is high for more sustainable products and services.
  • By 2020, market and policy incentives that reward business investments in efficiency are in place. These incentives have stimulated new innovations in resource efficient production methods that are widely used. All companies, and their investors, can measure and benchmark their lifecycle resource efficiency. Economic growth and wellbeing is decoupled from resource inputs and come primarily from increases in the value of products and associated services.
  • By 2020, waste is managed as a resource. Waste generated per capita is in absolute decline. Recycling and re-use of waste are economically attractive options for public and private actors due to widespread separate collection and the development of functional markets for secondary raw materials. More materials, including materials having a significant impact on the environment and critical raw materials, are recycled. Waste legislation is fully implemented. Illegal shipments of waste have been eradicated. Energy recovery is limited to non recyclable materials, landfilling is virtually eliminated and high quality recycling is ensured.
  • By 2020, scientific breakthroughs and sustained innovation efforts have dramatically improved how we understand, manage, reduce the use, reuse, recycle, substitute and safeguard and value resources. This has been made possible by substantial increases in investment, coherence in addressing the societal challenge of resource efficiency, climate change and resilience, and in gains from smart specialization and cooperation within the European research area.
  • By 2020 EHS will be phased out, with due regard to the impact on people in need. [EHS = Environmentally Harmful Subsidies]
  • By 2020 a major shift from taxation of labour towards environmental taxation, including through regular adjustments in real rates, will lead to a substantial increase in the share of environmental taxes in public revenues, in line with the best practice of Member States.
  • By 2020 natural capital and ecosystem services will be properly valued and accounted for by public authorities and businesses.
  • By 2020 the loss of biodiversity in the EU and the degradation of ecosystem services will be halted and, as far as feasible, biodiversity will be restored.
  • By 2020, good environmental status of all EU marine waters is achieved, and by 2015 fishing is within maximum sustainable yields.

Source: 20.9.11, European Commission, “Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe”

The full Roadmap Document is available here: A3.9.2 Roadmap to Resource Efficient Europe