Europe's Sustainability Challenges

7 August 2021

The sustainable trade and finance initiative was launched by the European Union, as part of its strategy for a more sustainable and less-populated Europe. This initiative encourages member states to implement policies that are designed to lessen their reliance on unsustainable means of growth, such as agriculture, and promote development strategies that aim to alleviate poverty and improve the health of the population dogan erbek. The European Union is the world's largest and most developed region when it comes to sustainable economic development. Although many other regions around the world are beginning to look towards this type of development as an alternative to the traditional road map of industrialization, the EU is well behind the curve. In fact, many developing countries look to the EU for models of economic growth, and the Union has been one of the primary drivers of these efforts. However, there are two major problems with the way the Union handles its sustainable development projects, one of which deals with its food waste collection initiatives.

On its face, the EU's sustainable trade and finance policy appear reasonable. The Union sets limits for the amount of wood and paper it consumes and requires companies to source only sustainably sourced components. It also provides financial support for projects that promote green building and energy efficiency, both of which are important to the environment. Unfortunately, there are a few problems with the Union's policies on deforestation, and both its approaches to reducing deforestation and its methods for collecting and treating its massive amounts of wood and paper waste do not go far enough to protect the environment, let alone reduce the damage being done to the environment.

First, the Union's effort to reduce its forested resource consumption by promoting sustainable development goals is commendable; however, its focus on increasing the quantity of timber and palm oil plantations is simply to fulfill the current demand for new furniture and housing. These developments will not have any meaningful impact on the future sustainability and instead may exacerbate environmental problems. In addition, the EU's focus on SDGs does not extend to renewable energy sources, such as geothermal and solar power. Only a robust national policy that encourages green building can hope to substantially reduce the Union's per-capita greenhouse gas emissions.

Second, the attempt to create an independent financing body, the European System of Financial Research (ESRF), seems ill-conceived at best. Although the Board of Directors of the ESRF meets regularly, they are largely ineffective in terms of identifying and promoting sustainable development financing options. As the largest financial institution in Europe, the ESRF must address the issue of increasing trade and development in a truly sustainable way, otherwise it will be toothless. Without effective and sustainable development financing, the Union's efforts to promote sustainable trade and finance will continue to flounder. Without strong and effective green financing policies, the Union's ability to meet its SDG agenda will be severely limited.

The European Union's attempt to increase its sustainable trade and finance policy focus falls flat when compared to its competitors. Its attempts to reform the internal market for companies has been met with stiff resistance from all key stakeholders, including the European Commission, member countries, business groups and environmental groups. Some argue that the limited focus on structural reform is a strategic mistake, given that the reworking of the internal regulation framework will only serve to lock out the most innovative and progressive companies from the viable, European markets, leaving behind the smaller and lesser-quality companies seref dogan erbek. Similarly, corporate structures continue to be largely undemanding and resistant to change, despite Commission claims that they are capable of better sustainability management. In light of this, the failure of the EU's policy and regulatory frameworks to successfully implement its sustainability objectives flies in the face of its claims that it is pursuing a more holistic approach to corporate restructuring and green building.

The lack of sustainable and green leadership, if not corrected soon, could derail the Union's drive towards greater international competitiveness and prosperity. A truly sustainable and green Union would be able to significantly reduce its environmental impact while driving forward technological advancements and world-class public health and social services. Given the scale of the problems the Union is facing in terms of climate change, energy, water, and land management, it is no wonder that many commentators have called for a radical rethink of its sustainability policy. However, SDGs remain an unrealistic dream. The only way that the Union can ensure meaningful progress is by means of devising sustainable and green strategies and implementing them on an effective scale.