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Yes to an EU legislation on Sustainable Resource Management

16/04/2024

More than 100 organisations join the European Youth Forum demanding EU legislation on Sustainable Resource Management. This collective endorsement reflects a shared commitment to address the core challenges driving global crises and to champion an EU that thrives within planetary boundaries.

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Jan
Jan Mayrhofer

the EU’s outsized impact on climate, nature, and people

Resource extraction and processing are the catalysts behind the most pressing challenges of our time, including global warming, biodiversity loss, water stress, pollution, and social injustices. We cannot address these challenges unless the EU, a major consumer using between 70% and 97% of the ‘safe operating space’ available for the whole world in terms of impacts from resource use, aligns with planetary boundaries and reduces its outsized impact on the environment and people. While the EU has introduced new measures and targets on climate and biodiversity, there is a crucial gap in current European legislation on resource consumption, underscoring the need for a new law with science-based and binding resource reduction targets.

our proposal for a legislative framework

We are calling for an EU Directive that will set binding EU material footprint reduction targets to 5 tonnes per capita by 2050 in line with the best available research on sustainable consumption levels, with incremental targets to monitor and ensure progress.

The Directive will steer the EU and its Member States to develop implementation strategies, emphasising reductions in high-consumption sectors like transport, construction, and digital industries, and to develop sector-specific roadmaps with binding sub-targets. This approach can support a just transition, in line with ILO guidelines, while respecting workers’ rights. The Directive will also ensure the EU’s strategic autonomy and reduce supply chain vulnerabilities.

To respect people’s rights and ensure social justice, the Directive will push for the redistribution of resources and the redressal of inequality in Europe through measures such as redistributive taxes and social programmes.

To bolster scientific guidance, the Directive will establish an EU Scientific Advisory Board on Sustainable Resource Management. Additionally, it needs to include

a commitment to global engagement, aligning with the UN International Resources Panel towards a Global Resource Treaty to create a pathway towards equitable use of resources globally.

benefits for everyone

  • Addressing the ecological crises: Reducing material extraction and use is crucial to mitigating environmental harm and thus essential for achieving decarbonisation and biodiversity goals.

  • Transitioning to a true circular economy: Circularity is impossible without a holistic shift towards strategies that reduce production and consumption, such as sufficiency, repair and reuse.

  • Achieving strategic autonomy: Reducing dependence on external sources will foster strategic autonomy, enhancing resilience in case of shocks and conflicts.

  • Fostering global peace & security: Mitigating risk factors linked to resource exploitation such as violence, poverty, and poor governance, will promote global peace and security.

  • Delivering resource justice: Reducing resource consumption in Europe will enable lower-income countries to exercise their right to thrive and meet their own needs through a fairer global distribution of natural resources.

  • Respecting human & workers’ rights: The initiative will bolster broader efforts to ensure respect for human and workers’ rights, particularly in EU value chains.

  • Towards societal wellbeing & equity: Reducing resource consumption is pivotal for transitioning to a future-proof economic model that prioritises the wellbeing of people and the planet.

the time is now

Acknowledging the existing political will within the European Commission, European Parliament, and among EU Member States such as Austria, Belgium, Finland and the Netherlands, this collective endorsement seeks to channel and amplify citizen support, as surveys and popular manifestos underscore a rising number of Europeans advocating for a more resource-conscious society.

Now is the time for EU legislation on Sustainable Resource Management. We call for a rapid and well-prepared shift towards a fair, autonomous, resilient, and sustainable EU economy within planetary boundaries.

Co-signatories:

11.11.11; ACDESPE; ACR+; Amigos de la Tierra; . Amis de la Terre France; Association For Promotion Sustainable Development; . Bond Beter Leefmilieu; Break Free From Plastic (Europe); Broederlijk Delen; CANOPEA; Caritas Europa; CATAPA; CEE Bankwatch Network; Centrum pasivního domu, z.s.; Clean Air Action Group; ClientEarth; Commown; Community Resources Network Ireland; CricE Malta; Danish Society for Nature Conservation; Deutsche Umwelthilfe; . DKA Austria; Društvo Ekologi brez meja; ECOCITY; EcoCore; ECOLISE; Eco-union; Ecologistas en Acción; Economy for the Common Good; En Mode Climat; Environmental Engineering; Ethikis - Label LONGTIME®; European Anti-Poverty Network; European Health Futures Forum; Fair Trade Advocacy Office; Fairphone; Feasta: the Foundation for the Economics of Sustainability; Federación de Consumidores y Usuarios CECU; Feedback EU; Fern; Focus Association for Sustainable Development; France Nature Environnement; Friends of the Earth Croatia; Friends of the Earth Cyprus; Friends of the Earth Malta; FSU; Fundación Renovables; Germanwatch e.V.; Global2000; GreenFormation; Greenpeace; Grootouders voor het Klimaat Belgium; HOP // Halte à l'Obsolescence Programmée; Humusz Szövetség; iFixit GmbH; INCIEN - Institute of Circular Economy; Institute for Circular Economy; Institute for Political Ecology; Jane Goodall Institute; KYKLOS; Kyoto Club; Les Amis de la Terre Belgique; Make Mothers Matter; Milieudefensie; More Than Enough; Mouvement Impact France; NaZemi; New European Reuse Alliance; NEW STANDARD.S; NOAH - Friends of the Earth Denmark; ÖKOBÜRO - Alliance of the Environmental Movement; Oxfam; Polish Foundation for Energy Efficiency; Polish Zero Waste Association; PowerShift; Protect Our Winters Europe; ReGeneration 2030; Reloop; Repair Cafe; Repair Together asbl; Repair&Share; Repairably; Rethink Plastic Alliance; Retorna; Right to Repair Europe; Safe Food Advocacy Europe; Scientist Rebellion Netherlands; Simavi; Sociedade Ecológica Estudantil da Faculdade de Letras da Universidade de Lisboa; SOLIDAR; Swedish Society for Nature Conservation; United Kingdom Without Incineration Network; UNSW Sydney; Veblen Institute for Economic Reforms; VOICE; VšĮ "Žiedinė ekonomika"; Wellbeing Economy Alliance; World Fund; World Organization of the Scout Movement; Youth and Environment Europe; ZERO - Association for the Sustainability of the Earth System; Zero Waste Austria; Zero Waste Kiel e.V.; Zero Waste North West.

Academics:

Eloi Laurent, Senior Economist, Sciences Po, Standford University; Else Skjold, Associate Professor, Royal Danish Academy; Jessika Luth Richter, Researcher, IIIEE, Lund University; Prof. Dr. Andreas Braun, Human-Environment Interaction, University of Kassel; Prof. Dr. Stefan Bringezu, Director at the Center for Environmental, Systems Research; Stefan Giljum, Associate Professor, Vienna University of Economics and Business; Stephan Lutter, Senior Researcher, Vienna University of Economics and Business; Prof. Thomas Wiedmann, Professor of Sustainability Research, University of New South Wales.

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