The European Union has one of the world’s largest environmental footprints per capita, with our unsustainable lifestyles built on the exploitation of resources and labour in other parts of the world. The economy of the future needs to take into account the environmental and social impact of our policies and choices beyond our borders so that Europeans do not end up living the illusion that they reside in a low-carbon, resource-efficient Europe, when that same Europe exports resource-intensive production to other parts of the world.
Policy coherence for sustainable development requires us to account fully for the externalities and spill-over effects of European policies, production processes and consumption patterns in order to set goals to limit them. However, Eurostat, the EU’s statistic agency, does not include externalities in their reporting. This report seeks to fill some of these gaps by measuring the massive external impacts and costs of EU policies in 13 different areas, including the Common Agricultural Policy, trade and fisheries.