Urgency for circular economy underpins Green Week 2014

A new sense of urgency underpins Green Week 2014, the impressive EU event that launches tomorrow. (Tuesday June 3rd)

EU Green Week 2014 poster

After ten years of activity, Green Week, the biggest annual conference on European environment policy is stepping up its efforts to ring environmental alarm bells. Top of the agenda, kicking off three days of sessions is the New Environmentalism Summit.

BusinessGreen editor James Murray is chairing the day-long summit at the Egg Conference Centre in Brussels. He advises: “Environmentalists of all shades – be they old school eco-warriors or chief sustainability officers at multinational firms – are being forced to admit that, despite some impressive localised victories, their campaigns are not working, or at least not working quickly enough.

“For all the investment in cutting-edge clean technologies, the popular support of vast swathes of society, and the political rhetoric committing to urgent action, greener economic models are not cutting through into the mainstream at the pace that is required. In short, environmentalism is in crisis.  And, like all crises, it demands a different response to those that have been tried and proved wanting in the past.”

We could not agree more. The slow-motion adoption of energy-saving, waste cutting, efficient resource management is painful to witness and very worrying. SaveMoneyCutCarbon is part of the change but we know that there is so much more to be achieved at every level, from energy-saving tactics to effective sustainability strategies at the heart of every corporate social responsibility agenda.

Green Week summit

The New Environmentalism Summit will bring together celebrities, former politicians, business leaders, media and other personalities, and some of the world’s leading NGOs to discuss reasons why there has been no breakthrough and what to do about it.

Let’s hope the summit acts as a spark for decisive, effective actions and illuminates the practical pathways for everyone, from governments to public and private sectors, and consumers to make a sustainable difference.

Further focus should come from the overall theme for Green Week – “the Circular Economy, Resource Efficiency & Waste”.

Green Week planners suggest that a circular economy is “the logical solution for a resource-constrained world. It’s a place where almost nothing is wasted, where the re-use and remanufacturing of products has become standard practice, and where sustainability is built into the fabric of society.”

Live video streams

Live video streams will be available for most of the sessions on the programme at http://www.greenweek2014.eu/index.html. There are satellite events in the UK and other parts of Europe from tomorrow. Here’s a detailed map: http://www.greenweek2014.eu/satellite-events.html

This year, the European Commission will set out new proposals enabling Europe to unlock the potential of the circular economy, underlining the need to change the way we think about design. There will also be a focus on better waste management, and on how it can help the EU use its resources more efficiently.

We’ll be keeping a close watch on these while continuing to expand the business of sustainability that we are privileged to be a part of. From support for eco projects like the Oxford Green House to energy and sustainability strategies for hotels, offices, warehouses, in education and health – and many other sectors, we want to show how being green is commercially savvy and excellent for the planet.



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