The EESC issues between 160 and 190 opinions and information reports a year.
It also organises several annual initiatives and events with a focus on civil society and citizens’ participation such as the Civil Society Prize, the Civil Society Days, the Your Europe, Your Say youth plenary and the ECI Day.
The EESC brings together representatives from all areas of organised civil society, who give their independent advice on EU policies and legislation. The EESC's326 Members are organised into three groups: Employers, Workers and Various Interests.
The EESC has six sections, specialising in concrete topics of relevance to the citizens of the European Union, ranging from social to economic affairs, energy, environment, external relations or the internal market.
Environmental challenges are everywhere. There is an urgent need to stop biodiversity losses and to improve air, water and soil quality - to name but a few problem areas.
Among examples of global environmental problems, the loss of bees is symbolic. Bees' well-being and role as pollinators are significant for biodiversity. More than 50% of bee colonies are in decline compared to figures from only a few years ago. Data in other areas point to further alarming issues. Poor air quality in urban areas shows the urgent need to boost efforts. Over half of the urban population could be touched by pollution levels which are above the WHO's guidelines. In the EU, this may result in hundreds of thousands of premature deaths yearly.
The situation is no better at sea or on land. An example with a strong environmental impact is the widespread use of disposable plastic shopping bags. Billions of disposable bags are used yearly around the world and plastic bags, while only used for an average of a few minutes, remain in landfills or oceans for thousands of years.
The EESC is working to promote an effective and progressive EU environmental policy and to find solutions contributing to better environmental protection and more efficient use of natural resources.
In addition to providing policy advice, the EESC is also taking a hands-on approach to helping preserve local biodiversity through practical, small-scale projects, such as having "green roofs" or keeping beehives on top of its building.