Brussels, 10th November 2008 To the Presidents of France and Finland, the EU heads of government and the President

of the European Commission Dear….. We are writing to you ahead of the special global summit on the financial crisis, which will take place a few days from now. We urge you to take action so that the financial solutions chosen will at the same time tackle the ecological crisis the world is facing. Amidst plunging stock markets and evaporating public and private capital, governments are allocating enormous sums of money to recapitalise the financial system while fears of a deep world wide recession have risen to high levels. You as political leaders have the difficult responsibility of finding an answer to this worldwide crisis and reforming the global financial system into a more sustainable one in a world with enormous global capital flows. EU leadership has taken a pro-active role in this process so far and we hope and expect it will make innovative proposals for a system which is sustainable in all respects. We face a financial and ecological crisis (siamo di fronte ad una crisi finanziaria ed ecologica) Similar to monetary capital, global natural capital has been exposed to greedy short term profiteering and is disappearing at high speed. Similar to how granting credit was not based on real earning capacity, our consumption of natural resources is far higher than the earth’s carrying capacity. Natural resources such as fish stocks, forests and fertile soils are being depleted, unprecedented numbers of species are on the verge of extinction, pollution is affecting the health of millions and climate change will bring about large human and economic losses – as pointed out by many recent studies such as the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment the OECD Environmental Outlook to 2030 and the recent Living Planet report published by WWF and the Global Footprint Network. As representatives of millions of European citizens we are deeply concerned about this destruction of natural capital on which our economies ultimately depend. We therefore urge you not to retract from sustainable development goals, but to include them while fighting the financial and economic crisis. We welcome last week’s statement of intent by the European Commission to respond to the economic crisis, ”…by speeding up, not slowing down, Europe's agenda for tackling climate change.” The ecological crisis is at least as severe as the financial crises and equally undermining the sustainability of our economies. The Ecosystems of Economics & Biodiversity 2008 interim report, prepared on the initiative of the G8 and 5 major newly industrialising countries, demonstrates the severe dangers that biodiversity loss poses to human health and welfare.
European Environmental Bureau (aisbl) Blvd de Waterloo 34, 1000 Brussels, Belgium – Tel: +32 2 289 1090 – Fax: +32 2 289 1099 – Email: Websites:

Include social and environmental sustainability in the new financial regulatory system Many have pointed to the economic importance of preventing environmental deterioration and fighting climate change - Nicholas Stern being one of the more well known. Abating poverty is a moral imperative but also crucial for creating and maintaining stable societies and thriving economies. “Mobilizing and re-focusing the global economy towards investments in clean technologies and 'natural' infrastructure such as forests and soils is the best bet for real growth, combating climate change and triggering an employment boom in the 21st century”. This call was made on 22nd October 2008 by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and leading economists as they launched the Green Economy Initiative. We hope that you share our belief that sustainable stewardship of monetary, human and natural capital should go hand in hand. We ask you to include social and environmental sustainability in the new financial and regulatory architecture that you are going to discuss. The financial system should put less emphasis on short term profits and focus more on the long term interest of workers, the environment and the maintenance and strengthening of its carrying capacity and society as a whole. Sustainability reporting and rating for large companies One step forward would be to require sustainability reporting and indexing for large companies in the stock exchange markets and include sustainability rating in all credit rating systems. Many companies all over the world have already worked with sustainability reporting systems and governments can now ensure the wider application and reliability of sustainability indexing and its connection to reliable credit rating. Government spending for innovative projects which contribute to sustainability without a shadow of doubt As many governments are now prepared to spend large sums of tax payers’ money to counter expected economic decline and job losses, there should be conditionality to this support. This should also apply to the suggested acceleration of cohesion funds and investments in energy and transport networks as announced by the European Commission last week. We ask you to use public money investments primarily for larger scale application of already available sustainable innovations in all major sectors such as energy, transport, housing and agriculture. Implementation of green public procurement should be accelerated to boost innovative businesses and jobs. In addition, capital for green innovative investments made by the private sector and consumers could be more easily available and relatively cheaper. The economic crisis should not be an excuse to protect unsustainably operating sectors, but should be
European Environmental Bureau (aisbl) Blvd de Waterloo 34, 1000 Brussels, Belgium – Tel: +32 2 289 1090 – Fax: +32 2 289 1099 – Email: Websites:

seen as an opportunity for renewal and eco-innovation (traduz. La crisi economica non

deve essere una scusa per proteggere settori operativi insostenibili, ma deve essere visto come un'opportunità per il rinnovo e l'eco-innovazione).

The long overdue reform of environmentally harmful subsidies can help contribute the needed funding. Reduce labour costs, increase the cost of resources and stimulate green consumption Other measures you should consider are reducing the costs of labour and increasing the costs of resource use and pollution. Various EU member states have already experienced the advantages of even very modest tax shifts from labour to resources or pollution or are further developing this principle. When you consider encouraging consumer demand through the fiscal system or subsidies, please focus on tax cuts for green investments and green and socially produced products that help consumers save energy, deliver social progress as well as protect health and environment and thus provide a double dividend to individuals and society as a whole. The French bonus-malus system, which has boosted demand for cleaner cars, is a simple, successful example that can be extended to address many other products. The European Commission has announced it will work on such solutions and we will be happy to share our knowledge and experience on these issues. Involve civil society Finally we hope that in discussing the reform of the global financial system, you will involve experts from civil society from various parts of the world, to ensure an inclusive process that can lead to a more sustainable financial and regulatory architecture for the global economy.

John Hontelez
EEB Secretary General

Dr Mikael Karlsson
EEB President

On behalf of the Board of the European Environmental Bureau The European Environmental Bureau is the largest European federation of environmental citizens organisations currently comprised of over 150 member organisations with a membership support base of more than 15 million citizens.

L'Ufficio di presidenza europea per l'ambiente è la più grande federazione europea di organizzazioni di cittadini ambientale attualmente composto da oltre 150 organizzazioni aderenti con una base di supporto adesione di più di 15 milioni di cittadini.

European Environmental Bureau (aisbl) Blvd de Waterloo 34, 1000 Brussels, Belgium – Tel: +32 2 289 1090 – Fax: +32 2 289 1099 – Email: Websites:

"Come rappresentanti di milioni di cittadini europei, siamo profondamente preoccupati per la distruzione del capitale naturale da cui tutte le nostre economie dipendono in ultima analisi," ha affermato il dottor Mikael Karlsson, Presidente della EEB. "Chiediamo ad UE ed istituzioni in tutto il mondo a non ritirarsi da obiettivi di sviluppo sostenibile, mentre lotta contro questa crisi finanziaria". Lettera inviata a tutti i capi di governo UE

European Environmental Bureau (aisbl) Blvd de Waterloo 34, 1000 Brussels, Belgium – Tel: +32 2 289 1090 – Fax: +32 2 289 1099 – Email: Websites:

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful