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Brussels, 24 May 2011

Europe's largest annual environment conference explores the spectrum of resource efficiency

Opening today, Green Week 2011 launches a call for citizens to “use less and live better”. During the conference’s four days, over 3500 participants will look for ways to use our planet’s resources more sustainably. This year's Green Week gathers participants from a wide variety of backgrounds, including EU institutions, business and industry, non-governmental organisations, public authorities, the scientific community, academia and the media. Some 30 events are scheduled to take place outside Brussels, including events to come in Slovenia (25-27 May, 2 June) and Poland (11 June). The conference is webstreamed in its entirety.

Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said: "Resource efficiency isn't just about constraints and scarcity – it's a vast array of opportunities for growth and jobs with less waste, a cleaner environment, and better, more sustainable choices for consumers. The scope of this year's Green Week is a clear demonstration of the reach of environment policy – it really is fundamental to the way we choose to live our lives."

This year's theme supports the Europe 2020 flagship initiative on resource efficiency, encouraging a shift towards a resource-efficient, low-carbon economy to achieve sustainable growth. With contributions from across the Commission, the conference palette is broader than ever. Together with discussions on traditional environmental issues like the availability of resources, recycling, biodiversity and soil, the conference will examine issues including the transition to a resource efficient economy; greener chemicals; green skills, employment & innovation; financing eco-innovation; food waste; waste as a resource; water efficiency, construction, and business ideas for the ‘circular economy’.

38 sessions, workshops and special events

An exhibition with over 50 stands allows organisations and companies to showcase best practices on the efficient use of resources. Side events include screening of the films “The Lightbulb Conspiracy”, "Amazon Alive", “The Story of Stuff”, "Il Suolo Minacciato" and an outdoor exhibition “Measure for measure, daily food - daily garbage” by Rosanna Maiolino.

The LIFE Nature Project Awards will honour the projects whose results have the most positive impact on the environment, including winning projects from Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy and Spain.

First international flight of solar powered plane

One of the highlights will be the visit to the Solar Impulse at Brussels Zaventem Airport. Solar Impulse, the first aeroplane designed to fly day and night without requiring fuel and without producing carbon emissions, showcases the potential held by new technologies in terms of energy savings and renewable energy production. It is on display in the European capital from 23 to 29 May 2011.

Key speakers include:

  • Janez Potočnik, EU Commissioner for Environment

  • Connie Hedegaard, EU Commissioner for Climate Action

  • Dacian Cioloş, EU Commissioner for Agriculture & Rural Development, European Commission

  • John Dalli, EU Commissioner for Health & Consumer Policy, European Commission

  • Maria Damanaki, EU Commissioner for Fisheries & Maritime Affairs, European Commission

  • Algirdas Šemeta, EU Commissioner for Taxation and Customs Union, Audit and Anti-Fraud

  • Achim Steiner, United Nations Under-Secretary General, UNEP Executive Director

  • Valentin Thurn, Director of Thurnfilm

  • Ernst von Weizsäcker, UN International Panel for Sustainable Resource Management

  • Paul Holthus, Executive Director, World Ocean Council

  • Denis Knoops, Senior Vice President ERRT (European Retail Round Table) & member of Executive Board, Delhaize Belgium

  • Richard Swannell, Director of Design and Resource Minimisation, WRAP

For more information:

To view the Green Week 2011 programme and follow the sessions live, see:

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