Resource productivity, ETR and sustainable growth in Europe (PETRE)


July 2006 to June 2009

PSI researchers:

Roger Salmons

Background, summary and aims

Background and Aims

This three-year project is one of four funded by the Anglo-German Foundation (AGF) as part of its “Creating sustainable growth in Europe” research initiative (details of which can be found on the Foundations website: The project is led by PSI and has five other project partners, based in the United Kingdom, Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic.

The overall aim of the project is to generate substantial new insights into the conditions for sustainable economic growth, and how this might be promoted through public policy, by linking the concepts of resource productivity and environmental tax reform (ETR). In particular, it will investigate the major issues related to resource productivity and ETR, including both economic and environmental implications and impacts. While the project will focus on Germany and the United Kingdom, it will also consider the implications for other countries within the European Union, and within the global economy. 

Project Design 

The project consists of five linked work packages, where each is formulated in terms of one or more specific research questions.

WP1 The link between resource use, economic performance and environmental quality

Is there any relationship between trends in resource productivity, resource (especially energy) prices, environmental quality, economic growth and competitiveness?

WP2 The resource and labour impacts of European ETRs to date

What have been the resource and labour impacts of the ETRs that have been implemented to date in Germany and the UK?

WP3 Modelling the single-country, European and global economic and environmental effects of different ETR regimes

What might be the impacts on labour and resource productivity, resource use and employment, and environmental impacts, of major ETRs in the UK, Germany and the EU in the future? 

WP4 Implications for Central and Eastern European Countries

What are the implications of the analyses for the new EU member states in Central and Eastern Europe, and for the design and implementation of ETRs in these countries?

WP5 Global Dimensions of Sustainable Growth in Europe

What are the implications of higher European resource productivity for European competitiveness, for world-wide patterns of natural resource extraction, production, trade and consumption, and for other (especially developing) countries, and what are the policy implications?

Importance of Research

The project comes at a time of some challenge for European policy-making, in respect of both unemployment and fiscal balance. So far there is little evidence of the Lisbon Strategy and process providing the new impetus to growth and competitiveness that was intended. In these circumstances it is more difficult to achieve the policy integration, in particular in respect of environmental policy, which is called for in the EU Sustainable Development Strategy. It is intended that this project should generate significant new ideas and recommendations in respect of these issues, contributing thereby to both the Lisbon process and the objective of policy integration.