Earlier this week Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik launched the European Resource Efficiency Platform to provide high-level guidance and advice on policy measures designed to transform the European economy towards a more sustainable growth path. Resource efficiency is a pillar of the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, and is therefore a top priority for the European Commission. The primary task of the Platform will be to determine how to achieve the milestones and vision set out in the Commission’s Roadmap to a resource efficient Europe, including the ultimate vision of decoupling resource use and its impacts from economic growth.

Commissioner Janez Potočnik said: “We need people of high calibre and broad experience to help us address the challenge of how to transform our economies to a resource efficient growth model. We will have to become more resource efficient whether we like it or not, and the earlier we do so the better for our Europe’s competitiveness and for our environment. The first meeting of the Platform today increases my confidence that we will be able to meet the challenge.”

The Platform is chaired by John Bruton, a former prime minister of Ireland and EU Ambassador to the US. Its 34 members include five European Commissioners, four Members of the European Parliament, nine business leaders from various sectors, four environment ministers, and members of international organisations and institutions, civil society and academia. The intention is to combine the members’ backgrounds and skills to provide useful guidance to the European Commission, Member States and market actors.

Platform Chair John Bruton said “I am delighted to be able to work with such a group. I am confident that we will be able to use the experience and knowledge of the members to guide business and policy makers on the best ways to achieve resource efficiency.”

The main principles guiding the European Resource Efficiency Platform’s (EREP) work include reflecting interlinkages between issues, seeking added value and impact, and producing tangible outcomes to feed into policy developments.

The EREP is part of a wider Commission move to bring together stakeholders and promote dialogue on resource efficiency challenges and opportunities.

An online platform was also launched on the same day where interested parties are encouraged to contribute to the debate and which is expected to be home to a series of exchanges and consultations in the coming months.

The working groups are scheduled to produce a first set of recommendations in approximately 12 months, and a second by the end of its mandate mid-2014.