ZOE Institute published report "Decoupling Debunked"

In cooperation with the European Environment Bureau (EEB) and the German Nature Conservation Ring (DNR), ZOE has published a report showing why the EU and the German government are failing to meet their sustainability targets. This is attributed to the underlying strategy of contemporary environmental policy, which is primarily based on decoupling.

In view of the World Overshoot Day in July, the report “Decoupling debunked – Evidence and arguments against green growth as a sole strategy for sustainability” was published. This report takes a critical look at the issue of decoupling and seriously questions the feasibility of green growth. In this respect, it is argued that an adaptation of contemporary environmental policy seems indispensable in order to achieve sustainability goals – such as the 1.5°C target.

As the report shows in detail, there has been no absolute decoupling to the ecologically necessary extent to date and appears to be quite unrealistic in the future. This is attributed to rising energy expenditure, rebound effects, problem- and cost-shifting, limited recycling possibilities as well as inadequate technological development. In this context, the environmental policy focus on measures of efficiency and consistency appears to be ecologically inadequate.

Therefore, alternative policy strategies beyond decoupling are necessary. A policy of sufficiency is needed. This type of policy aims to reduce resource consumption as well as the ecological impact of consumption and production while maintaining or increasing the level of individual and collective well-being. In this context, it appears to be essential to make resource-light consumption and lifestyles simpler and to reduce the economic performance of sectors that are particularly problematic in ecological terms. In this sense, environmental policy must not be primarily geared towards economic growth but must focus on ecological and social goals.

You can download the report here.