Sustainable Consumption, Production and Industry Action Plan
The Commission proposes a number of measures to support the implementation, in the European Union and internationally, of a policy to promote environmentally friendly consumption and production.
Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 25 June 2008 on the ‘Sustainable Consumption and Production and Sustainable Industrial Policy Action Plan’ [COM(2008) 397 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
The Commission proposes the implementation of a series of measures to improve the energy and environmental performance of products throughout their life cycle, and to stimulate demand and consumption of better quality products, thus creating a ‘virtuous circle’.
These targets may be reached by:
- extending the scope of the Directive on ecodesign, which for the moment only applies to energy-using products, to all energy-related products or those products which have an impact on energy consumption during their use (window frames, water-using devices etc.);
- extending the scope of the Energy Labelling Directive to cover a wider range of products;
- revising the Ecolabel Regulation to simplify and streamline the process of obtaining an ecolabel, and to extend the product coverage;
- promoting green public procurement, by providing guidance and tools for public authorities to "green" their procurement practices;
- implementing incentive measures aimed at reducing the environmental footprint of the retail sector and its supply chain, promote more sustainable products, and better inform consumers.
There is already a regulatory framework for production processes concerning environmental emissions from industries and the greenhouse gas emission allowance trading scheme, in particular. The Commission considers however that there is a need to give further impetus to environmentally friendly production processes and energy savings. In this context, the Commission intends to act in three areas:
- increase efficient use of resources (creating more value while using less resources);
- support eco-innovation;
- enhance the environmental potential of industry, by revising the EMAS Regulation (Community eco-management and audit scheme), by preparing industrial policies for environmental industries and by helping small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to fully exploit business opportunities in the field of environment and energy.
Acting on a global scale
Action will also be undertaken at a global level:
- promote good practice internationally in sustainable production and consumption;
- promote international trade in environmentally friendly goods and services;
- promote sector-based agreements in international negotiations on climate change.
The action plan forms part of the European Union Strategy for Sustainable Development and the Community Lisbon Programme for 2008-2010 of which one of the main orientations is the promotion of an industrial policy geared towards more sustainable consumption and production. The Commission will review progress and report on the implementation of the initiatives proposed in 2012.