Taming Goliath — tackling consumption patterns

News Published 03 Jun 2008 Last modified 21 Jun 2016
1 min read
'Europe's citizens represent only 7 % of Earth's total population, but consume 15 % of the world's energy, 15 % of the meat production and 24 % of the paper produced in the planet', said Professor Jacqueline McGlade, Executive Director of the European Environment Agency (EEA), speaking at the opening of Green Week in Brussels this afternoon.

 '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.



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