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Brussels, 15 February 2013
Statement by Commissioner Potočnik following the Resource Efficiency Finance roundtable
"Europe should become more active in eliminating barriers and obstacles that prevent investments into resource efficiency. That is the message I picked up from an in-depth and lively discussion with high-level actors of the financial sector, which I convened today to explore how we can realise the objectives of the European Commission's Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe.
Finance is an essential factor in the transition to a resource efficient economy, where natural capital is preserved and our natural resources are managed in a sustainable way. We need investments in a wide range of activities, from eco-innovation to green infrastructure and improving processes in existing companies. This is key for Europe's sustainable future and for competitiveness, growth, and jobs.
There was a clear view that finance can be mobilised because resource efficiency makes economic sense, but many obstacles still prevent these investments to materialise. Discussions today helped to gather concrete ideas for actions to overcome them. In particular, we discussed ways to mainstream Resource Efficiency across investment decisions and macroeconomic policies. Priorities identified included the factoring in of Resource Efficiency in reporting and risk assessment and more widely in the responsibility of the financial actors (fiduciary duty); changing existing incentives so that long term considerations are not discarded; and exploiting the potential of the bonds market and the financial instruments.
The members of the Round Table will work together with the Commission to further refine some of the ideas in order to contribute to upcoming Commission's proposals, notably as regards long-term financing."
The Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe was adopted in September 2011 and outlines how we can transform Europe's economy into a sustainable one by 2050. It proposes ways to increase resource productivity and decouple economic growth from resource use and its environmental impact. The Resource Efficiency Finance Roundtable was listed as one of the actions to be taken by the Commission in order to identify ways of developing adequate finance for resource efficiency.