EEB Secretary General John Hontelez was amongst the key-note speakers. He addressed the need for the EU to have a comprehensive sustainable resource use strategy. EEB believes this to be critical, in order to tackle the serious overuse of natural resources, which both creates increasing scarcity and security problems for our societies in the future and as well triggers serious environmental problems.
Hontelez called for an overall ambition for the EU to reduce its ecological footprint (currently 2.5 times above sustainable levels) by 50% in the next 20 years. This ambition should become the heart of a new EU Sustainable Resource Use strategy. He also called upon Ministers to show their determination to increase resource efficiency to follow the Environment Committee of the European Parliament in improving the Waste from Electronic and Electric Equipment Directive (vote of 22 June). Ministers must insist that eco-design requirements for specific products should no longer be restricted to energy use but should be linked to a broader environmental impact. The Commission should also be called upon to finally produce legislation to boost the production of compost from biowaste (now mostly thrown in landfills or burnt). Having heard Ministers time and again supporting the idea to use environmental tax reform for increasing resource efficiency, he called for an EU initiative for such a reform in a coordinated manner, and reminded the Ministers that last year they asked the Commission to set up a High Level Forum to advise the EU on the coordinated use of Market Based Instruments for the Environment (taxes, subsidies, also abolition of existing subsidies, trading, public procurement). Finally, as many Ministers insisted on the crucial role of consumers in creating demand for environmentally sound goods and services, he called upon these Ministers not to reduce support for civil society initiatives and organisations who are the best agents to encourage behaviour change in the general public.

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