France tables strategy for green economy



Paris hopes to tune into the green economy by increasingly placing eco-labels on everyday products, designing a green industrial policy and developing a more sustainable farming model. EurActiv France reports.

French Environment Minister Jean-Louis Borloo this week (27 July) presented another national strategy for sustainable development, for the period 2010-2013. The new strategy identifies nine strategic challenges for achieving 'a green and fair economy'.

The document represents a sort of short upgraded summary of the French green bill, the Grenelle de l'environnement, which sets out a series of commitments and objectives for environmental policy.

For sustainable consumption and production, the idea is for the government to act in parallel with consumers and producers in sharing responsibility for changing both purchasing behaviour and manufacturing practices, to integrate sustainability into the whole life-cycle of products and services.

The strategy foresees boosting the development of environmental labelling for everyday consumer products to direct consumers towards more sustainable choices, and supporting companies in their eco-design efforts.

One of the new strategy's goals is to make sustainable products and services accessible to more people and to double by 2012 the sale of products carrying an eco-label.

Green industrial policy

Another major focus is on supporting the green economy and innovative companies.

The strategy pledges support for the green economy and clean technologies, particularly by drawing up an industrial policy for sectors like renewable energy, green chemistry, recycling and carbon capture and storage. According to the strategy, resource-efficient products should also get specific support.

Sustainable farming model

The third major focus is on more environmentally and socially sustainable agricultural production.

The strategy notes that environmentally and socially responsible production and distribution methods, such as local foods or fair trade products that contribute to public health and help preserve soil fertility and water quality, should be supported.

Towards a 'World Environment Organisation'

The new French strategy also cites the establishment of a World Environment Organisation as one way to enhance the global governance of sustainable development.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has repeatedly expressed his support for such an idea in the past. In May 2010, Brice Lalonde, French ambassador for climate change, was nominated by the United Nations as the coordinator of the process leading up to the Rio+20 summit in 2012.

The summit is being held exactly two decades after a landmark international conference in Rio de Janeiro, called the 'Earth Summit', agreed on a plan of action (Agenda 21) and a declaration setting out principles supporting sustainable development.

Hosted by Brazil, the upcoming summit will focus on the green economy in the context of sustainable development, poverty eradication and the institutional framework for sustainable development.

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