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EU Harnesses Govt Spending Power to Support Green Products

The European Commission recently launched Action plan for sustainable consumption, production and industry, a proposal to curb the environmental impact of EU consumerism by supporting sustainable products, innovation and technology, Guardian reports.

The proposal comes as part of the EU’s goal to reduce carbon dioxide emissions 20% by 2020, compared to 1990 levels.

Under the proposal, local authorities, which spend about $3 trillion, or 16 percent of the union’s GDP, are required to make 50 percent of their purchases more sustainable by 2010.

The Commission hopes to help markets for green goods grow by capitalizing on the huge purchasing power of governments and institutions.

The number of eco-labeled products will also be increased to 40-50 by 2015 to cover food and drink products. There are currently 26 products under the eco-labeling scheme which covers products ranging from paints to dishwashers.

Products that indirectly affect energy consumption such as windows and faucets will also be included in the EU directive on eco-design.

The proposal did not set rules for energy-efficient manufacturing, but European Commission Vice President said that factories are regulated the EU’s emissions trading system, which makes industries pay for emissions above the set limit.

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