Taming Goliath — tackling consumption patterns
Professor McGlade addresses Green Week
'Household consumption expenditures in EU-25 increased by 25 % during the last 15 years' explained Professor McGlade, 'while Europeans spend more and more on transport and communication, housing, recreation, health and education. We must tame this Goliath of ever increasing consumption'.
Reports by the EEA and the European Commission show that food and drink, housing (including energy use and construction), and mobility account for two thirds of the major environmental pressures in Europe.
'A combination of ambitious policies' is necessary to steer European consumption 'into a more sustainable direction', said Professor McGlade. 'One of the main problems of our economies today is that the indicator we use to measure whether we are moving in the right direction — GDP — is misleading. For countries and companies alike, calculations of the full cost of commodities and services must include not only market prices, but also carbon, water and other resources'.
The European Environment Agency provides European policy-makers with periodic assessments on waste and material resources and also monitors current consumption trends, evaluates the effectiveness of waste and resources policies and identifies and disseminates best practices in the field.
Green Week 2008 brings together more than 2 000 experts from the fields of science, non-governmental organisations, businesses and all levels of policy-making from the EU and beyond. The EEA has contributed every year to Green Week's conference and exhibition since its first edition in 2001, acknowledging the dialogue opportunities between European institutions and a wide range of stakeholders.
- Speech by Professor Jacqueline McGlade 'David and Goliath' (Brussels, 3 June 2008)
- Green Week 2008 'Only one Earth — don't waste it!'
- The chapter 'Sustainable consumption and production' (part of the report 'Europe's environment — The fourth assessment') is now available in most EEA languages
For references, please go to www.eea.europa.eu/soer or scan the QR code.
This briefing is part of the EEA's report The European Environment - State and Outlook 2015. The EEA is an official agency of the EU, tasked with providing information on Europe's environment.
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