The objective of the Societal Challenge 'Climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials' is to achieve a resource – and water – efficient and climate change resilient economy and society, the protection and sustainable management of natural resources and ecosystems, and a sustainable supply and use of raw materials, in order to meet the needs of a growing global population within the sustainable limits of the planet's natural resources and eco-systems.
The era of seemingly plentiful and cheap resources is coming to an end: raw materials, water, air, biodiversity and terrestrial, aquatic and marine ecosystems are all under pressure. The combined impacts of climate change and current production and consumption patterns are undermining our planetary habitat. Based on current trends, the equivalent of more than two planet Earths will be needed by 2050 to support the growing global population. There needs to be a decoupling of economic growth from resource use.
Helping to build a green economy – a circular economy in sync with the natural environment – is part of the answer. This Work Programme will focus on investing in innovation for a green economy. This will require great progress in social and public sector innovation.
Actions under this Work Programme will therefore address gaps in the knowledge base needed to understand changes in the environment, identify the policies, methods and tools that would most effectively tackle the above mentioned challenges, and support innovators and businesses to bring green solutions to the market. Waste and water have been selected as particular priorities, on the grounds of their substantial potential for business opportunities and job creation while tackling important resource efficiency challenges.
Efforts have been made to encourage SME participation, notably through the SME Instrument and bottom-up approaches, together with innovation actions, where SMEs can follow up research projects with work linked to closer to market activities.
In addition to the calls below, activities relating to climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials are also found in the calls relating to 'Blue growth: unlocking the potential of the oceans', 'Energy-efficiency' and 'Disaster-resilience: safeguarding and securing society, including adapting to climate change'.