We live in a finite world, and global use of natural resources – land, water, materials – continues to increase, as does our emissions of global warming gases. Yet the EU doesn’t consider resource use in its policymaking – it doesn’t even have a system to measure it!
The main focus of my work at Friends of the Earth at the moment is to change this. We’ve been working with Sustainable Europe Research Institute in Vienna to work out how we can effectively measure resource use, and how this can then be used to derive better EU policies.
We have selected four indicators – land footprint, water footprint, material use and carbon footprint – all of which evaluate the global use of resources created by Europe consumption. We’ve recently published a new briefing – available here – that explains these indicators & how they could be used.
We’re also organising a conference on the subject in the European Parliament on the morning of the 1st June – the agenda is here, and there’s a registration form here (ideally you should register by the 21st May):
Resource efficiency is rising up the European agenda, with the new Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik adopting it as one of his priorities, and a resource efficiency ‘roadmap’ in the EU2020 strategy.
But what is resource efficiency – what’s the global impact of Europe’s resource use – and why isn’t the EU currently even measuring how much of the world’s resources we use?
Friends of the Earth Europe has been working with Sustainable Europe Research Institute in Vienna to try to come to a workable yet effective solution to the problem of how to measure Europe’s use of the world’s resources. We have proposed four resource use indicators: material use, water use, land use and GHG emissions.
This event will offer the opportunity to discuss the implication of these indicators on EU policymaking, and the benefits of monitoring and reducing our resource use.
The event is hosted by Chris Davies MEP and Sirpa Pietikäinen MEP, and speakers include Stefan Giljum from Sustainable Europe Research Institute, Steve Evans from Cranfield University and Tim Rice from Actionaid and Michael Warhurst from Friends of the Earth, followed by an MEP panel discussion and opportunity to ask questions.
It’s worth noting that the conference is followed the same afternoon by the launch of the European Commission’s Green Week, a free event which includes high level speakers on resource use and biodiversity (advance registration required on the green week web site).