Achieving sustainability is possible. The adoption of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015 and the Paris Agreement in the same year created a new impetus for the debate on how to do so. With an emerging recognition of the serious risks of continuing with unsustainability, there is currently unprecedented support for change. This is reflected in the EU Commission’s emphasis on an EU Green New Deal and a Just Transition. The transition to sustainability also has strong legal basis in the EU’s overarching goals set out in its Treaties, with duties to protect the environment, human rights and human dignity, within the EU and in the EU’s relations with the wider world.
The time is right for fundamental change, and the way out of the Covid19 pandemic must be a path to sustainability. To achieve sustainability, we need to change the way business operates.
The SMART project supports the transition to sustainability through a set of reform proposals that are introduced in this report. The proposals are designed to change the way business and finance operate, and the way products are produced and consumed. We aim to make it possible and easy for business and finance to create value in a sustainable manner, and for products to be produced and consumed in a way that contributes to securing a safe and just space for humanity within planetary boundaries. As such, our reform proposals concern the EU as a global actor, and the EU as a legislator and policymaker.
After publishing this introductory report in its first version in November 2019, we invited comments and suggestions to our tentative reform proposals. Based on the feedback we have received we present here our updated introductory report. Our detailed proposals are published separately on SSRN.