Table of Contents Table of Contents
Previous Page  211 / 280 Next Page
Information
Show Menu
Previous Page 211 / 280 Next Page
Page Background

speed at which actions are taken will determine the results as we seek

to live within our planetary boundaries.

Investing and realising the circular economy, encouraging sufficiency

and funding radically new innovations are the keys to unlocking the door

of your new electric car, which probably also happens to be your

neighbour’s, who is relaxing on your garden bench.

but the indicators for economic welfare went

down. So we have to conclude: do we really

have a better life?”

New thermometer

Concluding his interview with Portal, Holemans

re-emphasised the necessity of radically

rethinking the relationship between the

economy and the environment, as well as the

impact it is having on our lives.

“We are using the wrong thermometer. We only

have one, and when GDP goes down we think

we have a problem. We have forgotten that

when it sometimes goes up, there are more

traffic accidents or more pollution. We need a

new thermometer.

“Yet, if we realise this is the wrong thermometer

and install a different one, there’ll be another

debate. So it’s very important for these

developments to have other indicators of the

wellbeing of countries and our planet.”

It is clear that the EU needs to make a major

shift in its approach to economics if the

continent is to maintain a vital economy without

destroying the environment. With biodiversity

still under threat, there is growing recognition

of the action needed by citizens, industry and

policy makers alike across Europe, though the

Dirk Holemans

Oikos

E M A I L

dirk.holemans@oikos.be

B R OW S E

www.greenweek2015.eu www.oikos.be www.ec.europa.eu/environment/circular-economy/

H O R I Z O N

2 0 2 0

www.horizon2020projects.com

H O R I Z O N 2 0 2 0 P R O J E C T S : P O R TA L

I S S U E S E V E N

211

S O C I E TA L C H A L L E N G E S : C L I M AT E A C T I O N

Vella’s circle

At the 2015 European Circular Economy

Conference in March, the European

Commissioner for the Environment,

Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu

Vella, set out the need for a circular

economy in the EU: “At the moment,

Europe is still locked into a linear

production chain that is resource intensive.

We obtain resources and then discard them as waste. The full

potential and value is lost.

“By 2050 we would need three times more resources than we

currently use, and the demand for food, feed and fibre will rise by

70%. Yet more than half the ecosystems these resources depend on

are already degraded or are being used beyond their natural limits.

“Ecosystem is perhaps the key word. We need our industrial

system to behave much more like an ecosystem. In an ecosystem,

the waste of one species is the resource for another. We need to

recalibrate so that the output of one industry automatically

becomes the input of another.”

Vella added that the Commission would aim to present a “new,

more ambitious circular economy package” by the end of 2015,

which would “transform Europe into a more competitive, resource

efficient economy, addressing a range of economic sectors in

addition to waste”. The proposal, the commissioner said, would

include “a new legislative proposal on waste targets” with a “more

country-specific” agenda. To realise the vision, Vella said a

combination of efforts is needed.

“The circular economy transformation on the scale we have in mind

will never come about simply as a result of legislation. We need a

combined approach, where smart regulation is blended with market-

based instruments, innovation and incentives. These would provide

businesses, including SMEs, with concrete tools, instruments and

incentives to promote the transition to a circular economy.”

Karmenu Vella

©EuropeanUnion,2015

Testing the

temperature: the think

tank co-ordinator

called for a new

approach to

encouraging economic

growth and protecting

the environment