Economic players and the environment2017 edition
In this previously unpublished edition of the “Insee References” collection entitled Economic Players and the Environment, Insee and the Data and Statistics Department of the ministry with responsibility for the environment present analyses and indicators aiming to provide an overview of interactions between the environment and the economy in France.
Dynamics for improving the inclusion of environmental issues in individual and group behaviour
Human activity puts pressure on ecosystems, which increases as the population and the level of individual consumption rises. Humanity now faces several major challenges, from climate change to the decrease of biodiversity, depletion of natural resources and degradation of natural environments. Echoing the international community’s mobilisation, since the 1990s rising public awareness and government efforts have reduced society’s environmental impact. Positive results are perceptible, especially in France.
Aware of the challenges, the French are more conscious of environmental issues and want to change their daily practices. Spending related to the environment is rising faster than GDP and the green economy is growing at a steadier pace than the rest of the economy.
However, some environmental protection goals remain unachieved. The air is cleaner, but France remains prone to episodes of pollution on a national scale. Although the modernisation of water treatment plants lowers the amount of organic material in waterways, nitrates and pesticides still pollute rivers and aquifers. Despite steps to curtail the loss of open land to development, construction continues, threatening biodiversity. France’s greenhouse gas emissions are down but its carbon footprint has not shrunk. Lastly, demand in France for natural resources remains stable despite higher recycling rates, the increase of material productivity, the growth of renewable energy and the rise of the circular economy.