Growth without economic growth

Growth without economic growth
EEA briefing
Zora Kovacic (European Centre for Governance in Complexity)
Roger Strand (European Centre for Governance in Complexity)
Silvio Funtowicz (European Centre for Governance in Complexity)
Lorenzo Benini (EEA)
Ana Jesus (EEA)
Publication Date
January, 2021
Language for original content

By building on the insights from previous EEA reports on drivers of sustainability transitions, this briefing explores alternative ideas about growth and progress with the aim of broadening the sustainability debate.

Economic growth is closely linked to increases in production, consumption and resource use and has detrimental effects on the natural environment and human health. It is unlikely that a long-lasting, absolute decoupling of economic growth from environmental pressures can be achieved at the global scale. Societies need to rethink what is meant by growth and progress and their meaning for global sustainability.

The briefing outlines how circular economy may not deliver the transformation to sustainability when growth strategy still leads to increased material consumption.