Green Economy

Our Work

We cover a range of issues that bring economic analysis into policy making at the national, EU and global level. Our work focuses on different tools to support the transition to a green, resource efficient and circular economy including market-based instruments, cost and benefit assessments, sustainability indicators and environmental accounts. We also explore the role of nature in the transition to a green economy and are at the forefront of analysis of the economics of biodiversity and ecosystem services. Our research aims to support the integration of environmentally-sound economic signals in decision making, to encourage recognition of the true value of environmental resources and ecosystems.

The ‘green economy’ is one that pursues human progress without exceeding ecological thresholds, that ensures sustainability and simultaneously aims to reduce social disparities. Our work in this area has focused particularly on the policies and tools that are needed to support the transition to a green, resource efficient and circular economy, within the EU and internationally. There is a wide and expanding range of options.

We have examined marked based instruments to support the transition, including the use of environmental taxes and environmental tax reform (ETR), assessed the potential for reforming environmentally harmful subsidies (EHS) and explored the setting of incentives that reward environmentally progressive behaviour. Our work also aims to contribute to an improved understanding of the benefits and costs of environmental policy to provide an informed and balanced view to policy makers.

The analysis and assessment of the multiple benefits of nature to people, society and the economy is another focus of the team. Our work on assessing nature's multiple values seeks to support the integration of such values in decision-making and mainstream biodiversity and ecosystem services in relevant policy areas (e.g. agriculture, cohesion, water). The Programme has made a substantial contribution to the important international initiative The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB).

Another area of our work is the development and uptake of indicators of sustainability which take account of environmental and social factors contributing to human well-being, going beyond measures of economic performance such as the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This runs in parallel with work on environmental-economic and natural capital accounts, exploring the use of such tools in policy. For example we have been supporting the European ‘Mapping and Assessment of Ecosystems and their Services’ (MAES) process.


Latest in Green Economy

  • Volkswagen: Painful Lessons

    The latest edition of IEEP's newsletter is now available. David Baldock discusses Volkswagen and lack of implementation and compliance across EU environmental policy in general. Also: greening of the CAP; Marine Protected Areas; and LULUCF.

  • Protecting the interests of future generations

    Do future generations get a fair deal from the policy decisions we make now? A new IEEP report for the World Future Council launched today suggests not.

  • Establishing an EU ‘Guardian for Future Generations’

    Do future generations get a fair deal from the policy decisions we make now? A new IEEP report for the World Future Council launched today suggests not.

  • New report: assessing the benefits of marine protected areas

    Marine Protected Areas provide a range of benefits to human wellbeing, including providing food, mitigating climate change and creating opportunities for recreation and tourism. Further steps are needed to assess and communicate these benefits, this way supporting marine conservation both globally and in the EU.

  • Benefits of marine protected areas in the context of EU’s Natura 2000 network

    A scoping study by IEEP outlines a step-wise methodology to assess the overall benefits provided by the EU’s marine Natura 2000 network.

  • Beyond GDP Newsletter – August 2015 Edition Available Now

    This edition of the Beyond GDP Newsletter explores the Social Progress Index and discusses approaches to using social indicators in the context of EU economic governance.

  • Nature, Health and Jobs: IEEP at Green Week 2015

    Drawing on recent work by the Institute, IEEP’s Patrick ten Brink will present at Green Week 2015 on Jobs & Growth through Green Infrastructure (3 June 2015 - 16:30-18:00, Session 2.2) and on Health and Social Benefits of Nature and Biodiversity Protection (4 June 2015 - 09:30-11:00, Session 3.3).

  • Result-based agri-environment measures: market-based instruments, incentives or rewards?

    Result-based schemes are innovative agri-environment measures, which remunerate farmers only if they can demonstrate to have achieved the desired environmental goal. This is different from ...

  • Biodiversity offsets: design of biodiversity metrics and mechanisms for securing long term conservation benefits

    This study by ICF International, IEEP and national experts reviewed international best practice for designing biodiversity offsetting metrics and establishing mechanisms for ensuring long term conservation benefits from offsetting. It explores options for implementation at the European level and possible challenges. The report follows up on the IEEP report on policy options to achieve no net loss of biodiversity.

  • Looking beyond Paris

    The latest edition of IEEP's newsletter is now available. David Baldock argues that in the next six months the EU has a substantive role in contributing to agreement on an ambitious but credible set of SDGs and more stretching climate targets. Also: energy efficiency and security; bioeconomy; and circular economy.

  • New IEEP Programme on the Green Economy

    IEEP strengthens its focus on the Green Economy with a new dedicated programme, coming on stream as from May 1st.

  • Environmental Fiscal Reform in the European Semester

    A recent study by Eunomia, IEEP and Aarhus University identifies the potential for environmental fiscal reform in 14 Member States.

  • Beyond GDP Newsletter – March 2015 edition out now

    The latest edition of the Beyond GDP newsletter looks closely at the Inclusive Wealth Index (IWI) 2014 and discusses the challenges of developing sustainability indices.How might a ...

  • IEEP supporting the cross-Atlantic dialogue on Northern sustainable development

    An International Symposium on Northern development took place in Québec City from the 25 - 27 February 2015. IEEP’s Marianne Kettunen was one of the Nordic experts invited to present at the event and take part in the high-level discussions.

  • New book on protected area governance and management

    The IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) has published a new book on protected area governance and management. IEEP’s Marianne Kettunen played a key role in supporting the chapter on values and benefits of protected areas.

  • Nature and the green economy – IEEP contributing to China’s eco-civilisation drive

    IEEP’s Patrick ten Brink presented on Nature and its Role in the Transition to a Green Economy at the TEEB Multi-stakeholder International Workshop held on 21-22 January in Beijing, China. The talk contributed to current discussions in China on how decision-makers can better consider the multiple values of nature and ecosystems, with a focus on protected areas.

  • Evidence before ideology

    The latest edition of IEEP's newsletter is now available. David Baldock argues that in 2015 solid evidence rather than political fashion will be required in scrutinising EU policy and economic performance. Also: fossil fuel subsidies; allocating fishing quota; and the launch of our new training programme.

  • Finland launches its ecosystem service assessment

    Finland joins the ranks of countries that have carried out a dedicated assessment of their ecosystem services. Like similar studies elsewhere, the assessment concludes that ecosystem services underpin the country’s social and economic well-being and should therefore form the basis of the transition to a green economy in Finland.

  • The value and social significance of ecosystem services in Finland (TEEB for Finland)

    TEEB for Finland presents the results of a national assessment of the socio-economic importance of ecosystem services in Finland. It provides a review of the country’s most relevant ecosystem services while also considering opportunities and tools for their sustainable management.

  • Making green fiscal reform happen

    Overcoming obstacles to green fiscal reform is the subject of a new paper and blog by IEEP. The paper will be presented at the annual conference of the Green Growth Knowledge Platform in Venice next week.