In a world threatened by extreme temperatures, drought and scarcity of natural resources, taking action and adopting more sustainable forms of production and consumption for the planet is mandatory. It is about, as expressed in the European Green Pact, moving towards a “modern, resource-efficient and competitive economy”, which guarantees the reduction of CO2 emissions as well as the health and well-being of citizens. The path to achieving these goals is known as the ecological transition.
Although many became aware of the existence of this term with the publication of the European Green Pact, the concept predates 2019 by quite some time. It was first used in 1972. The biophysicist and environmental scientist Donella H. Meadows referred to it in the report The Limits to Growth. A document that involved 17 specialists in the field and whose conclusions are still valid 40 years later. Already at that time, the text warned of the limitations of a planet with finite resources such as ours, and also of the need to transform the economic model to avoid its deterioration and degeneration. It encouraged a move towards an ecological transition that would change this situation.
Since then, this concept has gained momentum and popularity. One of those responsible for this resurgence has been the European Commission which, in its eagerness to curb climate change and preserve the environment, gave rise to the famous European Green Pact. A roadmap that the 27 member states committed themselves to following with the aim of moving towards an ecological transition and making Europe a climate-neutral zone.
Spain is one of the countries that is part of this treaty and that, since the date of its publication, has been developing policies aimed at reducing CO2 emissions and transforming the “use and throw away” model towards a more circular, sustainable and respectful economy.
What does it aim to achieve?
As we have explained, the European Green Pact seeks to curb climate change and to do so with a not insignificant challenge: that Europe will be able to absorb the same CO2 emissions as it produces before 2050.
But in order to reach zero emissions, it is necessary to change both the way member countries produce and the way they consume. This means transforming the current economic model, moving towards more sustainable and environmentally friendly forms of production that are not associated with the exploitation of resources. It also means investing in innovation, in cleaner and renewable energies, in sustainable mobility and in green spaces.
A series of measures that, in addition to making Europe a climate-neutral continent, aim to:
Protect human life, animals and plants by reducing pollution.
Help companies to become world leaders in clean products and technologies.
Ensure a just and inclusive ecological transition: no country is left behind.
Objectives of the European Green Pact
Although the macro objective of the European Green Pact is to curb climate change, it includes micro objectives:
Climate neutrality by 2050
One of the main objectives of the European Green Pact is to make Europe climate neutral. What exactly does this mean? It means that net greenhouse gas emissions must be balanced and equal to – or less than – those removed through the planet’s natural absorption. To achieve this, it is necessary to transform the way countries produce and consume and, in addition to investing in technologies that guarantee clean and efficient energy, to consider changes in pricing and taxation. From now on, “the polluter pays”.
Clean, affordable and secure energy supply
Closely related to the previous one, this objective seeks decarbonisation based on the use of clean, affordable and secure energy. We cannot forget that 75% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are related to the burning of fossil fuels for heating, electricity, transport and industry.
Thus, by 2030, countries will have to update their national energy and climate plans to bring them into line with the ecological transition required by the European Green Pact. In addition, they will have to provide for the modernisation of infrastructures and the promotion of energy efficiency.
Sustainable and circular industry
The creation of a sustainable industrial fabric based on the circular economy is another of the major objectives of the European Green Pact. On our continent, only 12% of the materials used in industry come from recycling. This is a reality that the ecological transition proposes to change through aid for the modernisation of processes and infrastructures that enable the production of climate-neutral and circular products.
These actions will largely affect the textile, construction, electronics and plastics sectors.
Energy and resource efficiency in building construction and renovation
Public and private buildings account for 40% of energy consumption. This is why it is so important to renovate these buildings and improve their energy performance. It is also important to encourage the construction of efficient and digitalised buildings, to promote the circular economy in the design of housing and to promote the multifunctionality of public buildings.
Sustainable and intelligent mobility
Urban transport accounts for 25% of the EU’s GHG emissions. For this reason, the ecological transition envisaged by the European Commission takes into account the promotion of cleaner, smarter and fairer mobility models. It is a clear commitment to public transport – cheaper and more sustainable – and to the use of individual vehicles that have the least impact on the planet: bicycles, electric motorbikes…
“From farm to fork” with healthy food from short circuits
The use of pesticides and antibiotics not only puts the planet’s health at risk, but also our own. This objective of the European Green Pact calls for a reduction in the use of these substances and a commitment to organic and local agriculture and livestock farming.
In addition to encouraging the production of healthier and more wholesome food, the European Commission proposes the development of conservation processes capable of preventing food waste and avoiding the exorbitant generation of organic waste and packaging.
Preserving and restoring ecosystems and biodiversity
The European Green Pact does not forget the preservation of native flora and fauna and, in addition to specific actions to preserve forests, seas and green spaces, it includes aid for companies that work to restore the ecological state. This is an opportunity for the forestry sector, sustainable forestry and reforestation, agriculture and urban ecosystems.
The total elimination of toxic substances
Reducing environmental pollution is one of the main objectives of the European Green Pact, but not the only one. In addition to eliminating air pollutants, it seeks to do the same for pollutants that threaten land, seas, rivers and oceans. The ecological transition takes into account the reduction of toxic substances such as pesticides.
Sintac, an example of commitment and ecological transition
On the road to the ecological transition, countries need the commitment of citizens and companies. SINTAC, a company with more than 30 years of experience in plastic recycling, is a clear example that progress can be made by committing to the environment, to sustainability and to people.
Would you like to know more about our history and activity? From 4 to 6 October we will be at Ecofira, the International Trade Fair for Environmental Solutions and Ecological Transition held in Valencia.