The impossibility of a fundamental transformation of the economic system in times of economic downturn: The example of the United Nations Environment Programme’s Green Economy Initiative.
Authors: Katharina Biely
Abstract: No universal definition of the green economy concept exists and thus different interpretations of this concept prevail. One communality of the various interpretations is that in most cases green economy is understood as means to achieve sustainability and that it involves a shift to greener sectors and means of production. Apart from this green economy is interpreted in quite different ways, which are related to the two different interpretations of sustainability as well as to two different economic schools of thought; environmental and ecological economics. This article analyzes the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Green Economy Initiative. It is examined what understanding of green economy UNEP is using and how this changed over time. Moreover, it will be shown that according to this analysis a fundamental transformation from orthodox economy to ecological economics seems to be impossible in times of economic downturn.
Green Economy Agendas: NGOs’ divergent alliances around natural capital
Authors: Les Levidow
Abstract: The ‘green economy’ links resource-protection, social equity and social inclusion. This agenda has generated new alliances and new controversy. NGOs have formed three different alliances, each linking different accounts of resource degradation, social inequity, natural capital and justice (see Table). Transnational public-private initiatives involving nature-conservation groups have elaborated the concept ‘natural capital’, framing natural resources as stocks and flows. Natural capital accounting has been promoted to make nature visible and so to conserve its stocks through better economic decision-making. By contrast, from the ‘justice principle’, the Green Economy Coalition proposes more equitable access to natural and financial capital. Instead demanding ‘environmental justice’, transnational advocacy networks and social movements jointly highlight collective responsibilities sustaining natural resources through commons – which are undermined through ‘natural capital’ initiatives. Thus divergent NGO alliances, variously elaborating or criticising ‘natural capital’, provide a window into the politics of how green economy agendas potentially reshape society.
Analysing the mitigation actions in the French’s construction sector related to the circular economy approach: a Waste Input-Output analysis
Authors: Mariana Bittencourt, Jean-Pierre Doussoulin
Abstract: The building sector has long recognized the decisive role in these main global environmental along the various phases of the building life cycle. This might be a key for the mitigation actions development in the European’s construction sector related to the huge material consumption and the CDW generation. In this sense, circular economy’s principles have strong potential to address these challenges related to construction sector in all European Union countries and specially in France. In this point, the major method of input-output analysis covers waste input-output model (WIO). As the building construction process chain is complex and has lot of related activities and in a preliminary moment it will be developed a conceptual model, this approach provides a positive alternative for the development of healthy and environmentally benefits in the traditional construction process.
Polyethylene recycling: waste policy scenario analysis for the EU-27
Authors: Valeria Andreoni, Hans Saveyn
Abstract: This paper quantifies the main impacts that the adoption of the best recycling practices together with the implementation of the amended Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive could have on the 27 Member States of the EU. The main consequences in terms of employment, waste management costs, emissions and energy use have been quantified for two scenarios of polyethylene (PE) waste production and recycling. The main results show that socio-economic and environmental benefits can be generated across the EU by the implementation of the best practice scenario. However, the net energy requirements are expected to increase as a consequence of the reduction in the energy produced from waste. The main analysis provided in this paper, together with the data and the model presented, can be useful to identify the possible costs and benefits that the implementation of PE waste policies and Directives could generate for the EU.
Product Longevity: a state of art review through the three pillars of sustainability
Authors: Tim Cooper, Naomi Braithwaite, Mariale Moreno, Giuseppe Salvia
Abstract: The significance of product lifetimes to sustainable development is increasingly recognised due to evidence that short-lived products imply an unsustainable throughput of materials in industrial economies, concern at the waste generated, and frustration among consumers when products prove unduly or unexpectedly short-lived. Historical and technical studies represent valuable contributions to recent literature but the broader picture remains less clear. The paper thus locates knowledge about product longevity within prevailing discourse on sustainable development, framing its analysis around the three pillars of environmental, economic and social sustainability. A comprehensive and systematic literature review revealed around 275 relevant publications. A matrix was then developed to represent the state of knowledge in relation to potential areas of enquiry. Finally an overview of disciplinary knowledge revealed further research needed to guide policy and practice toward product lifetimes.