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.
Despite some new commitments on Green Economy, oceans, and Sustainable Development Goals, progress on much of the Rio agenda will depend on actions taken by individual countries, blocs (like the EU), companies and civil society networks.
Key agendas for the future were given an airing in Rio, whilst the agreement itself remained timid, not least on the Green Economy. IEEP played an active role in keeping this issue in the Rio bloodstream.
New TEEB study announced at Rio+20 to highlight how conservation and restoration of wetlands can benefit biodiversity and provide cost-effective and sustainable solutions in the context of a Green Economy.
The CAP could, and should, be primarily to assist EU agriculture to become more internationally competitive and sustainable and to achieve this by innovation. It already has many instruments to do this, and the reforms could further assist. However the resources deployed could be far better used.
This benefit Assessment Manual, originally for internal use, has been turned into a Benefit Assessment Manual for policy makers and experts for wider dissemination and provides an understanding of the methodologies applied for the country benefit assessments.
There are considerable benefits from taking immediate action to address the environmental problems facing Egypt, including in the area of air pollution, water quality and infrastructures and waste management, and safeguarding its natural heritage.
Investing in improving environmental standards in the ENPI South countries would offer huge benefits in terms of cost savings, improved security (food, water, energy and climate), and improved quality of life.
Investing in improving environmental standards in the ENPI East countries would offer huge benefits in terms of cost savings, improved security (food, water, energy and climate), and improved quality of life.
This report investigates a range of economic instruments in place in the EU Member States to improve waste management. It focuses on disposal taxes, pay-as-you-throw systems and producer responsibility schemes, and attempts to assess their contribution to waste management performance.
“Urgent action is needed now to avoid significant costs of inaction, both in economic and human terms”. The OECD provides a clear message in its recent Environment Outlook to 2050: Act now – or face major and potentially disastrous consequences.
This IEEP-led study for the European Commission (DG ENV) improves the knowledge base on green infrastructure policy initiatives in Europe and assesses their implementation and efficiency. It also formulates policy recommendations for integrating green infrastructure into the EU policy framework.