To combine economic growth and a pleasant environment, society needs to scale back its resource use and the ensuing pressures on the environment, by a factor of five. The challenge is to do more with less; something for which there is no instant solution. Innovation will be required and may be stimulated by a government that sets clear objectives. This involves a number of key elements, such as promoting a motivating perspective that would stimulate people, introducing dynamic regulations that reward innovation and remove restrictive rules, and being open to learning from society.
The existing powers of creativity and innovation within society offer opportunities for ‘green growth’. Mobilising this energetic society demands adjustment of the way national government thinks and acts. In its Trends Report, ‘The energetic society. In search of a governance philosophy for a clean economy’, the PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency suggests how government could fill this new role.