Member States Biggest Barrier to Green Deal Implementation, Say 1 Out of 3 Sustainability Experts

A new report by the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP) and GlobeScan identifies the challenges to the European Green Deal’s implementation and provides policy recommendations for addressing them.

The European Green Deal Barometer, launched on Thursday 29 April at an online conference, builds on the Think2030 survey, an expert consultation of nearly 300 sustainability experts from governments and regulators, NGOs, academia, research institutes and the private sector.

Key findings

  • 33% of respondents see the lack of commitment by the Member States as the biggest barrier to the Green Deal implementation, followed by inadequate governance mechanisms (25% of respondents) and unequal progress across the EU Member States (24% of respondents).
  • 38% of respondents see promoting low-carbon, circular supply chains in key emitting sectors as the most positive opportunity provided by the Green Deal, followed by increased investment and accountability from the private sector in the green transition (28% of respondents).
  • 37% of respondents see the greatest amount of progress made in ‘increasing the EU’s climate ambition for 2030 and 2050’, followed by ‘supplying clean, affordable, and secure energy’ (24% of respondents).
  • Only 13% say that adequate progress has been made on preserving and restoring biodiversity; and 14% on sustainable and healthy agriculture.

Top three policy recommendations:

  • Ensure that the award and use of EU recovery funds are focused on low-carbon and environmental projects.
  • Mainstream a circular economy approach in the EU industrial strategy.
  • Align the post 2020 Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform with the ‘farm to fork’ strategy and boost investment in nature based solutions.

Céline Charveriat, Executive Director of IEEP and the main author of the report, said:

“Member States are the cornerstone of the Green Deal implementation. If we are to act in line with science and remain within the planetary boundaries, they have no other choice but to be ambitious and implement the Deal. It is also important to bear in mind the indivisibility of the Green Deal. While it is encouraging to see progress on supplying clean, affordable and secure energy for all, science remains unequivocal — it will be impossible to reach carbon neutrality by 2050 if sectors like agriculture are not stepping up their efforts. Sixteen months after its announcement, the message from sustainability experts is clear: the European Green Deal is here to stay, in spite of the pandemic and beyond the mandate of the current European Commission. However, European governments must urgently raise their game, starting with greener recovery plans, while the European Commission has to focus in 2021 on the Achilles heels of the Green Deal — biodiversity and agriculture.”

Caroline Holme, Senior Director at GlobeScan, said:

“Our survey, conducted with IEEP and a host of other partners, is a valuable benchmark of stakeholder views on the European Green Deal. Nearly half of experts think the pandemic has accelerated the green transition, with greatest progress made on increasing the EU’s climate ambitions. We plan to track perceptions of progress and potential across different European Green Deal proposals to help identify where to focus efforts for the green transition.”

About the Think2030 survey

The European Green Deal Barometer report builds on the Think2030 survey, an expert consultation of nearly 300 sustainability experts (including governments and regulators, NGOs, academia, research institutes and the private sector) on the progress made in implementing the European Green Deal, and on the top issues and priorities.

The survey was launched as a follow-up to the Think2030 conference held in November 2020 by the Ecologic Institute, the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP) and TMG – Think Tank for Sustainability. IEEP launched the survey in partnership with GlobeScan, the European Environment Agency, AER, EEAC, CAN Europe, Ecologic Institute, CISL, WWF EPO and Climate Alliance.

This survey asked 300 European sustainability experts what they consider to be the greatest challenges and opportunities on the path towards a successful implementation of the European Green Deal.

Download Full Survey Results
Download Full Report
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Launch Webinar

The Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP) and GlobeScan organised an event to mark the launch of the European Green Deal Barometer report.
Following a presentation of the findings by Céline Charveriat, Eecutive Director of IEEP, and Caroline Holme, Director at GlobeScan, an interactive panel discussion featured Diederik Samsom, Head of Cabinet to the Executive Vice-President of the European Commission, and Dr. Hans Bruyninckx, Executive Director of the European Environment Agency (EEA).

Watch the full event recording below:

Download Webinar Slides

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About The Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP)

The Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP) is a sustainability think tank with offices in London and Brussels. Working with stakeholders across EU institutions, international bodies, academia, civil society and industry, our team of economists, scientists and lawyers produce evidence based research and policy insight.

Our work spans nine research areas and covers both short term policy issues and long term strategic studies. As a not-for-profit organisation with over 40 years of experience, we are committed to advancing impact driven sustainability policy across the EU and the world. For more information about IEEP, visit or follow us on Twitter @IEEP_eu and LinkedIn.

About Think2030

Launched by IEEP and its partners in 2018, Think2030 is an evidence based, non partisan platform of leading policy experts from European think tanks, civil society, the private sector and local authorities.

By focusing on producing relevant, timely and concrete policy recommendations, Think2030’s key objective is to identify science policy solutions for a more sustainable Europe.

Think2030 meets every two years for a high level conference to present and discuss the outcomes of the collaborative work, including policy briefs and reports. The 2020 edition took place online and was co organised by the Ecologic Institute, IEEP and the TMG Think Tank.

This publication has benefited from the financial support of the LIFE Programme of the European Union. It reflects only the views of its authors.