The Green Transition
The green transition marks one of two pillars of the EU’s industrial strategy: Progress towards a digital and green economy.
Through this “twin transition” the EU wants to ensure future competitiveness of its industries on a global market. The green transition, more concretely, summarises the journey towards a climate neutral, cleaner, and more circular EU economy. This goal can be divided into many sub-goals and involves many different sectors that are elaborated in the European Green Deal strategy package.
Relevant EU Strategies and Legislation
Climate change policy
Environmental management and industrial emissions
- EU Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS)
- Best environmental management practices
- Zero Pollution Action Plan
- Industrial emissions directive
- Best Available Techniques Reference Documents (BREFs) (by industrial activity)
Environmental performance of products
- Sustainable Product Initiative
- Ecolabel and Green public procurement (by product group)
- Energy efficiency: Ecodesign and energy labelling (by product group)
- Why resource efficiency? Reducing resource inputs per production unit or to an economic system overall (e.g. through decoupling economic development from resource consumption) minimise the negative impact of their value chains: the extraction, transportation, processing of resources, as well as the disposal of products after their use-phase are directly connected to GHG emissions, water and energy demands, can cause environmental degradation as well as social risks.
- Why circularity? In contrast to a linear way of using resources, cycling materials and products as long as possible at their highest value allows a minimisation of (macroeconomic) resource inputs to our economic systems.
- Why “Zero Pollution”? With the goal of cycling materials and products as long as possible in our systems it even gets more important that we do not use substances that cause environmental or health risks as these will be circulated too and increased in concentration. Where substances cannot be replaced, we need to ensure they do not leak into the air, water or soil.
Pathways to resource efficiency
Clean Tech solutions – minimize environmental impact and resource consumption, by
- energy and material input efficiency gains through (new) technology in production and treatment processes
- reduction of environmental impact (on water, air, soil) through (new) technology in production and treatment processes
→ Get inspired by our good practice database
Circular strategies – minimize environmental impact and resource consumption through cycling materials and products as long as possible at their highest value, by e.g.
- circular design of products and business models
- use of by-products and extension of traditional supply chains
- reuse of products and components
- recycling of materials
→ Explore good practices on the European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform
Industrial Symbiosis – create resource savings through collaboration, e.g. in the form of
- shared use of energy, infrastructures and/or services
- use of residuals, by-products or waste heat by one as input material for another industrial (production) process
→ Get started with our Industrial Symbiosis toolkit (soon to be online)
The role of businesses in the green transition
In order to reach the goals, set by the Commission, European businesses have two important roles to play:
On one hand, they have to work on reducing their own negative environmental impact, e.g. emissions, material and energy use, etc.
On the other hand, they should use their practical knowledge and innovative capacity to accelerate the green transition by providing affordable, clean technology solutions and by developing new business models.
This targets the core daily business practices: Greening Europe’s economy means greening products, processes, and business models.
The green transition also represents important opportunities i.e. for businesses to increase their competitiveness and resilience. Saving resources in many cases equals cost savings and those who offer solutions first will hold a greater competitive advantage in an area with increasing relevance in a world of scarce resources.
Key Facts and Figures
- 90% of biodiversity loss is caused by resource extraction and processing
- Up to 80% of products’ environmental impacts are determined at the design phase
- 11.8% - current circular material use rate in the EU
Source: European Commission
The circular economy is expected to have the potential for
- creating up to 2 million additional jobs by 2030 in Europe
Source: Cambridge Econometrics, Trinomics and ICF (2018)
- € 1.8 trillion benefit per year by 2030 to Europe’s economies
- grow resource productivity up to 3 % annually
Source: Ellen McArthur Foundation and McKinsey (2015)
Transitions and change, however, also pose a challenge for businesses, especially for SMEs. Making the right decisions at the right time requires access to the most relevant information, tools and know-how.
Supporting businesses in their green transition
This platform offers:
- Good practice examples to inspire, e.g. corporate decision-makers
- An opportunity for businesses to submit and share their solutions and achievements.
- Practical tools to guide businesses through their green transition
- Contacts to potential partners, top international knowledge, and technical expertise
- An opportunity for support providers to build further alliances!
- Updates on news and events within the community
- An interactive network
The Green Transition Support network
Who is part of it? The network consists of institutions offering support services around resource and energy efficiency and other green topics, e.g.
- energy & resource agencies and competence centres
- regional business development agencies
- industry clusters, networks and initiatives
Who can be part of it? All types of advisors and intermediaries that support businesses in transitioning towards greener, more resource efficient practices.