Check Out the New ETC/CE Report: Consumption and the Environment in Europe’s Circular Economy!

Circular Economy in Europe has the potential to reduce environmental and climate impacts, but will require a substantial transformation of our consumption and production systems. The new report “Consumption and the Environment in Europe’s Circular Economy” explores internal and external drivers of consumption behaviour and how consumption can be changed to ensure a good life for all within planetary limits.

Today, societies across the world are witnessing a rapid increase in middle- or high-income consumers adopting high consumption lifestyles. This economic growth coupled with growing population has resulted in higher overall global consumption, increased resource use and high emissions. The Organisation of Economic Development and Co-operation (OECD) expects global consumption of materials such as biomass, fossil fuels, metals and minerals to double by 2060, while annual waste generation is expected to increase from 2 billion to 3.4 billion tonnes by 2050. This induces unprecedented overexploitation of natural resources, emissions and generation of waste, resulting in significant environmental, climate and social impacts.

Neither environmental policies nor economic and technology-driven efficiency gains alone are likely to be sufficient to overcome effects of increased consumption and production in the long run, due to the combined effects of population and economic growth. Efficiency improvements need to be combined with shifting consumption towards more circular and sustainable alternatives, including sufficiency approaches. Such transformations will inevitably involve profound changes in dominant production and consumption practices, technologies, infrastructure and policies

This report, written under the umbrella of the European Topic Centre on Circular Economy and Resource Use (ETC/CE)shows trends in European household consumption and its resulting environmental and climate pressures, calculates different footprints of European consumption, and explores conditions and pathways toward more sustainable and circular consumption.

For additional details, please download the report in our library.

For further questions, please contact Rosalyn Old.