November, 2008


Solutions to the financial crisis must be ecologically sound

November 10, 2008


[Brussels, November 10, 2008] -  Ahead of the global summit on the economy in Washington D.C. on 15th November, EEB, Europe's largest federation of environmental citizens' organisations [1], urges the inclusion of ecological criteria in any package designed to help bail the world out of the current global financial crisis. In the wake of Friday's Informal Council statement, EEB has prepared a letter addressed to heads of European governments and the Commission, urging a solution that is sustainable in all respects.

"As representatives of millions of European citizens we are deeply concerned about the destruction of natural capital on which our economies ultimately depend," asserted Dr Mikael Karlsson, President of EEB. "We urge EU and worldwide institutions not to retreat from sustainable development goals while fighting this financial crisis."

At an emergency meeting on Friday, European heads of state outlined key points and agreed language for a coordinated European response to the financial crisis [2], a position which disturbingly does not include any environmental criteria, only mentioning climate change in passing. Environmental organisations are concerned that in an effort to achieve quick solutions, leaders will give in to the temptation to put too much emphasis on short-term profits instead of focussing on the long term interests of workers, the environment and the maintenance and strengthening of its carrying capacity and society as a whole. EEB therefore is asking for social and environmental sustainability to be included in any new financial and regulatory architecture.

EEB contends that similar to monetary capital, global natural capital has been exposed to greedy short-term profiteering. Likewise, while granting credit has not been based on real earning capacity, our consumption of natural resources in the last decades has also exceeded the earth's carrying capacity. This double-edged unsustainable behaviour must be addressed from both sides.

"The solutions we are suggesting are already within reach," asserted John Hontelez, EEB's Secretary General. "Requiring sustainability reporting and indexing for large companies in the stock exchange markets, using public money for application of currently available sustainable innovations in energy, transport, housing and agriculture, implementation of green public procurement, making capital for green innovative investments readily available and cheaper and encouraging tax shifts that reduce the costs of labour and increase the costs of resource use and pollution - these are just a few tools that should be on the table during any discussions for financial remedies to this crisis."

For more information please contact:

Vanessa Bulkacz, EEB Press and Publications Officer,, +32 2289 1309

John Hontelez, EEB Secretary General,, +32 486 512 127

Editor's notes:

[1] The European Environmental Bureau is the largest European federation of environmental citizens organisations currently comprised of over 150 member organisations with a membership support base of more than 15 million citizens.

[2] The European Council's complete statement can be found here:


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