Sustainability
Opinion Article
INVITED EDITOR
Editorial from
Luís Veiga Martins
Associate Dean for Community Engagement & Sustainable Impact at Nova SBE
November 16, 2022
12. Responsible consumption and production

12. Responsible consumption and production

Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
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13. Climate action

Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
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A new decade full of challenges

Becoming the first continent in the neutral world is the greatest challenge and greatest opportunity of our times. Portugal was one of the first countries to answer this challenge by approving its 2050 roadmap.

A new decade full of challenges

Every new year is always an opportunity to carry to assess what has been done, what is still left to do,and what we set out to achieve in the future. Sometimes, we have this feeling that the year should have had a few more days to complete everything. However,this end-of-year has a special feel to it given that we are ending a decade and starting a new one that, once again, will be filled with different types of challenges.

From an environmental point of view, I leave it up to each one to make their own assessment of what happened in the last ten years and whether we are better or worse. I only share my satisfaction that, from the second half of the decade that is now coming to an end, a sense of urgency has finally emerged in solving a series of environmental challenges that, in the future, will continue to create excellent opportunities for economic and social development in Europe.

A set of decisions were taken by the European Union, which, despite being always debatable and subject to multiple analyzes, made the political will of our continent clear and both an example and a reference for the rest of the world.

The new decade kicks off, inspired by the European Green Deal announcement (European Ecological Package), which has a fundamental objective: achieve Europe's carbon neutrality in 2050. Becoming the first continent in the neutral world is the greatest challenge and greatest opportunity for our times. Portugal was one of the first countries to respond to this challenge by approving its 2050 roadmap.

In order for Europe to achieve such an important goal, a series of ambitious measures are being envisaged that will enable European citizens and businesses to benefit from a sustainable greentransition.

One of the European Commission's policy areas in this package is linked to industrial sustainability, which is based on the circular economy's principles complementing and reinforcing the plan that has been in force since the beginning of 2018.

A new action plan for the circular economy will help modernize the EU economy by presenting a "sustainable products" policy that will prioritize reducing and reusing materials before their recovery by recycling. Minimum requirements will be mandatory for the products placed on the market to avoid environmental damage.

These new objectives, associated with those that have already been approved, will lead us to aim for a decade with multiple challenges concerning waste management. In the end, any recyclable waste is not landfilled unless it is the most environmentally appropriate solution.

All biodegradable urban waste will be collected selectively or recovered by the consumer, and food waste is expected to be less than 50 % compared to 2015. 70 % of packaging waste will be recycled, all packaging will be reusable or recyclable, and 90 % of PET beverage packaging will already be collected. And perhaps we are close to having just 10 % of the waste produced in Europe being sent to landfill.

Investing in Research &Development will be of strategic importance to identify and test the best options without devaluing competitiveness. Our quality will also play an extremely important role.

The solutions to answer all the challenges that arise must be aligned with the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals. For it to be reached, ambition is necessary. Hence the Secretary-General of the United Nations has defined this decade, which now begins as the Decade of Action. To this call, Europe and its Member States have said “present”!

 

This content was originally written in Portuguese and published in Cascais Municipality

Luís Veiga Martins
Associate Dean for Community Engagement & Sustainable Impact at Nova SBE
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