Sustainability, Environmental Policy Targets: Reference Documents

Progress towards environmental sustainability can only be measured and monitored in a reliable way if robust data, indicators and tools are available.  Policy targets and associated indicators are also essential for constructive action to address the long-term challenge of sustainability in Europe.

  • Sustainable development aims to improve quality of life without compromising the well-being of future generations.  A recent study highlights how targets and indicators improve sustainability?.
  • EU policy targets and indicators exist to improve the efficiency of natural resource use.  However, a report produced for the European Commission concludes that while indicators are still a valuable policy tool to monitor progress towards sustainable material, energy, water and land use, they require fine tuning.
  • Research has revealed the diversity in terminology and choice of indicators across eight major frameworks used to assess the environmental impacts of agriculture.  The research highlights the need for greater clarity such that chosen reference values can be quantified in sustainable agriculture assessments.
  • Research has also highlighted global consumption, the impacts of resource depletion, land use change and pollution and the need for changes in the way national material use is accounted for.
  • A recent study has concluded that specific policy targets for nuclear energy, CO2 emission reductions and energy security will have a greater influence on future energy use than the availability of energy efficient technologies, concludes a recent study.
  • A five-step process to help regional governments develop indicators and policy measures to help ensure national targets are met, eg. EU-wide targets for greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions in the building, transportation, agriculture and waste sectors, according to a new study.