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.