The EU aims not only to support global sustainable development through dedicated external policies but also needs to prevent negative environmental, social and economic impacts outside the Union arising from its policies. This is a considerable challenge, and progress depends on sustained monitoring, evaluation and a willingness to re-examine and amend policy in the light of new evidence and changing priorities. Direct and indirect impacts need to be identified and evaluated so that policy design can respond to these wider concerns in an effective way. Promoting good practice is one amongst a number of useful measures.

IEEP is closely involved in informing the debate on the global environmental consequences of EU policy and we contribute actively to the evidence base and policy debates in this sphere. Bioresource use is a key aspect of this work, in particular the changes in demand, consumption and production patterns as a result of EU policy decisions. For example, the indirect land-use changes and related global implications of EU biofuels policy is one important area of our work, as is the relationship between the wider demand for bioenergy and growing demands for increased biomaterial and biochemical use in the developing bioeconomy. The land use implications of such policies bridge the gap between both the emerging and long established policy areas. Through this lens we regularly explore the EU’s role in the context of the global food production, food security and environmental public goods.

The Institute also has a growing interest in trade policy, particularly its environmental dimensions. Recently we contributed to a study on the environmental implications of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) for the European Parliament which analysed the main differences in EU and US legislation in a range of policy areas relevant for the environment.