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SUSTAINABILITY WEEK 2013 DEREE- The American College of Greece

April 02, 2013 12:15 – 13:30 session

Panel: Green Economy-New Perspectives for the future sustainable energy market, the sustainable food production/food market, and the sustainable tourism.

Facilitator: Margarita Karavasili, Architect d.p.l.g. - MSc of Regional & Urban Planning - MSc of Social Psychology. ex. Special Secretary - Environment & Energy Inspectorate President of Citizens' Inspectorate for Sustainable Development

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Introductory speech First of all, I would like to congratulate the American College of Greece for organizing «Sustainability Week». I am honored for giving me the opportunity to co-ordinate a panel on the theme of the «Green Economy», aiming at exploring New Perspectives and recognizing New Possibilities to move forward sustainable development. Let me point out some general introductory remarks on sustainable development, which is still remaining a contested concept. Sustainable development is presented as the intersection between environment, society and economy, three dimensions, which they are not unified entities, as rather they are fractured and multi-layered, and can be considered at different spatial levels. The economy is still given priority in policies, while the environment is viewed as apart from humans. However, they are interconnected, with the economy dependent on society and the environment, while human existence and society are dependent on, and within the environment. The separation of environment, society and economy often leads to a narrow technoscientific approach, while issues to do with society that are most likely to challenge the present socio-economic structure are often marginalized, in particular the sustainability of communities and the maintenance of cultural diversity. Integrating concern about the environment into the practice and principles of marketing is an idea that has been with us since the 1970s. Over time our understanding of the interaction between economy and environment has developed, and therefore our ideas about what might constitute "green marketing" have continued to evolve. The concept of a green economy has become the new buzz word in sustainability discourses, particularly in light of the Rio+20 Conference. 2


Because of the current economic crisis and the perception that sustainability politics cannot be implemented efficiently, politicians have set their hopes on greening the economy. However, there are major problems with the aims and strategies linked to this concept. Specifically, if political, economic, and cultural constraints are not considered, green economy strategies will not be successful in their goals to end environmental degradation and reduce poverty. Strategies for global sustainability and growing the green economy must address current economic models driving today's unsustainable forms of globalization. Technological innovation is needed to shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy, recycling and redesigning industrial processes. More fundamental strategy levels need re-examining, such as policy models, assumptions, institutional inertia and cultural values fuelling today's drive toward increasing unsustainability. The great challenge faced by economies today is to integrate environmental sustainability with economic growth and welfare by decoupling environmental degradation from economic growth and doing more with less. This is one of the key objectives of the European Union, but the consequences of climate change and the growing demand for energy and resources are challenging this objective. However: 

making the transition to the green economy is the way forward to a sustainable future for the world

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preserving natural resources and making best use of them are essential to making that transition, and thus contribute to sustainable growth

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the sustainable management of these resources can make a crucial contribution to poverty eradication. 3


The new European development policy requires that environment and sustainable management of natural resources be treated as a crosscutting issue to be integrated into all development activities. It can also be included as a focus of action in country and regional support strategies, for example through support for: 

management and protection of forests, water, marine resources and biodiversity

access to sustainable energy

climate change , desertification and soil degradation

sustainable management of chemicals and waste

sustainable production and consumption

sustainable values for tourism development

Addressing poverty is about providing people with capabilities to grow and progress – including participating in democracy, getting an education and medical care – but also having access to fresh drinking water, healthy food, sustainable energy, and a healthy environment itself. So we realize that the interplay of these three elements – the economy, natural resources, and decent living conditions and jobs – are the core of what we need to address. However, the transition to a green economy will not happen by itself. Action and supporting measures will be needed at city, regional, national and international level. Achieving a green economy involves a key role not simply for the rational economic individual or the cooperative community member, but also for the citizen. We have to realize also that: Green growth will not ensure sustainable economic development as long as global ecosystem degradation and loss continues.

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The sustainability challenge is to overcome a vast array of market, policy and institutional failures that prevents recognition of the economic significance of ecological scarcity. The funding challenge is to bridge the shortfall between the global benefits that humankind receives from ecosystems and what we are willing to pay to maintain and conserve them. Improving economic and scientific analysis of ecological scarcity, valuing the loss in benefits, and translating the implications into policy are the key steps for addressing the sustainability challenge. Exploring and implementing a range of innovative financing mechanisms, from international payments for ecosystem services to financial and currency transactions taxes to international financing facilities are possibilities for alleviating the funding challenge. Because the process of achieving a green economy is bound to be political, it is very important how politics is understood. If we want to move forward sustainable development we have to change our style life and values, following more sustainable production and consumption patterns, which in the same time could maximize business' potential to transform environmental challenges into economic opportunities, providing a better deal for consumers‌ In this context let’s now explore New Perspective for the future sustainable energy market, the sustainable food production/food market, and the sustainable tourism.

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SUSTAINABILITY WEEK 2013-DEREE- The American College of Greece  

Panel: Green Economy-New Perspectives for the future sustainable energy market, the sustainable food production/food market, and the sustain...

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