Today WWF launches a new report – “From crisis to opportunity: Five steps to sustainable European economies” – showing that resource efficiency alone could generate per year the equivalent of the Juncker Investment Plan of over 300 billion euros for the EU economy.
WWF launches this report at the moment when the 28 European Economic and Finance Ministers meet in Brussels to agree on the new 315 billion euro European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) proposed by President Juncker to boost economic activity and job creation.
In line with key findings from the European Environment Agency ‘s (EEA) 2015 State of the Environment report launched recently, WWF’s report shows that the emerging ecological disaster is very likely to dwarf the current economic crisis. Damages from floods have cost more than 150 billion euros over the past 10 years, air pollution costs around 537 billion euros every year and EU industries import every year more than 500 billion euros of raw materials no longer available in Europe.
Sébastien Godinot, WWF Economist and author of the report, says: “Instead of the short-term ”grow dirty and clean up later” flawed narrative, President Juncker and EU leaders should look at the real symptoms of our troubled economies: diminishing natural resources and markets failing to take this into account. It’s simple: no economy can develop without natural resources.”
The report references over 400 studies and reports by key institutions like the OECD, UNEP, World Bank, IMF, ILO and the EU Commission, economic advisors like McKinsey and Ecofys, and leading world economists like Lord Stern, Pavan Sukhdev, and even Simon Kuznets, the “father of GDP” – all leading to one conclusion: building a sustainable economy will more than offset the costs of dismantling the brown economy.
“Sustainable economies can bring huge benefits worth much more than Juncker’s Investment Plan every year and provide up to 20 million jobs by 2020. How? Largely by using less resources and energy, fixing market failures and protecting nature in Europe.”
WWF’s report presents a five –step policy roadmap for Europe to build sustainable economies focused on achievable goals in the next five years. Five key enabling frameworks should be integrated to deliver maximum results: climate and energy, resource efficiency and management, fiscal and financial policies, global sustainable development leadership and an overarching new strategy for Europe from now to 2050.