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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 2 June 2014

Environment: It's the Ecology, Stupid

Europe's largest environment conference – Green Week – will wade into the economic debate this year. Under the banner “Circular economy – saving resources, creating jobs” the 3000 participants will discuss how Europe must move from its current linear economic model towards a more circular one.

Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said: "Europe's competitiveness will be determined by its ability to use resources efficiently and there will be no place for waste. We need to move away from our throwaway culture and switch to a more circular model, cutting waste and turning it into a resource. That means innovative products designed to last, to be repaired and to be recycled, and business models to match. New businesses, new jobs, less environmental impact and a better quality of life for all Europeans."

The conference aims to show that the logical solution for Europe in a resource-constrained world is a more circular economy where almost nothing is wasted, the re-use and remanufacturing of products has become standard practice, and sustainability is built into the fabric of society. In the coming weeks the Commission will set out new proposals to help Europe move to a more circular model, with a special focus on better waste management, and how it can help the EU use scarce resources more efficiently.

The Week opens with a summit on "New Environmentalism", bringing together celebrities, thinkers, activists, entrepreneurs, leaders and film makers to discuss why green thinking has still not broken through into the mainstream of social discourse. Using a TED-style format, each speaker will draw on their personal experiences to outline what has worked and what has not worked over the past 40 years, and where they think the environmental movement needs to go from here.

Green Week offers a unique opportunity for debate and exchanges of experience and best practice. Organisations and companies will showcase best practices at a 40-stand exhibition, and side events include test drives of electric cars. Work by the winners of the Generation Awake 'upcycling' competition for young designers will also be on show during the week. This competition aimed to raise awareness about resource scarcity, the value of waste, and how creative power can be harnessed to solve environmental issues.

The Conference takes place in Brussels at The Egg Conference Centre on Rue Bara from 3rd to 6th June. Photos available at

All sessions are streamed live on the internet.


The 14th edition of Green Week, the biggest annual conference on European environment policy, will take place from 3 to 5 June 2014 at The Egg Conference Centre, 175 Rue Bara, Brussels. Attendance is free and the public is welcome. Key speakers at Green Week and the New Environmentalism summit include:

  • Janez Potočnik, EU Commissioner for Environment

  • Yannis Maniatis, Greek Minister for Environment, Energy & Climate Change

  • Achim Steiner, Executive Director, UNEP

  • Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute, Columbia University

  • Yann Arthus Bertrand, photographer and film maker

  • Ricken Patel, Founder, AVAAZ

  • Jacques Perrin, Film maker

  • Hans Bruyninckx, Executive Director, European Environment Agency

  • Marco Lambertini, Director-General, WWF

  • Paul Ekins, Professor of Resources and Environmental Policy, University College London

  • Enrico Giovannini, Professor of Statistics, University of Rome

  • Sandra Steingraber, author

  • Bart Goetzee, Senior Group Sustainability, Philips International

  • Mitch Hedlund, founder of NGO Recycle Across America

  • Bas De Leeuw, Managing Director, World Resources Forum

  • James Walker, Head of Innovation, Kingfisher Group

For more information:

To view the Green Week 2014 programme and follow the sessions live, see:

Contacts :

For the press:

Joe Hennon (+32 2 295 35 93)

Andreja Skerl (+32 2 295 14 45)

For the public: Europe Direct by phone 00 800 6 7 8 9 10 11 or by e­mail

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