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Posts tagged 'European Commission'

European Business coalition are calling on EU leaders to act on the Paris Agreement on Climate policies.

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On Tuesday in Brussels a major coalition of top European businesses, trade unions and NGOs got together in an unprecedented gathering in Brussels to influence Heads of State and Ministers to act on the Paris Agreement and ensure that EU climate policies are coherent with its goals ahead of the 4 March Environment Council and the 17-18th March European Council .

After all the fanfare of Paris, not much has been going on. The EU should again take the leadership position and update our climate goals. The Chinese will surely do.

As a company we have seen how we could achieve a 98% carbon cuts with more than 50% efficiency gains and stay profitable. Why the EU as a whole could not?

We will hear the traditional business lobbies telling the old story again. Interface has proved their arguments wrong.

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The 1st PEF World Summit

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We Are PEFFeedback from the 1st PEF World Summit:

” … it’s now finished and it has been a great success. More than 140 international experts from a broad range of sectors shared their perspectives on ways to scale-up sustainable consumption and production.

In numerous presentations, working groups and informal meetings we exchanged opinions, experience and developed possible solutions to tackle hurdles of implementation. Furthermore networks were extended to collaborate in the EU Environmental Footprint pilot phase, in carbon footprinting, in hot-spot-analysis development or for a better application of measures for the reduction of the environmental impacts of products and organisations.

A main focus of the conference was set on the EU Environmental Footprint initiative. To provide you a better understanding of this important initiative we invite you to watch the presentation by Michele Galatola (European Commission/DG Environment) recorded at the 1st PEF World Summit. At the conference Michele presented the selection of the Environmental Footprint Pilot Projects (PEF/OEF), gave an outlook on the upcoming three years of the pilot phase and described the possibilities of how to join the process. ”

The video below: At the 1st PEF World Summit (8th October 2013) Michele Galatola, European Commission/DG Environment presented the selection of the Environmental Footprint Pilot Projects (PEF/OEF).

Michele also gave an outlook on the upcoming three years of the pilot phase and described the possibilities of how to join the process. Find further information on the 1st PEF World Summit here: PEF World Summit

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How Green Public Procurement is becoming based on transparent metrics

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If you sell to the government, you’d better understand full product transparency. 

The real demand for sustainability is coming from B2B and public procurement. There are three key buying powers in the world today: governments, corporates and citizens. Both government and corporate procurement teams are now making big buying decisions through tendering processes, based not just on price but also on the environmental and social facts surrounding a particular product or service. The problem today is that there is little or no transparency on the real social and environmental impacts of products and services, so buyers from government and the corporate world have to invest vast amounts of time and money developing lengthy and time-consuming sustainability questionnaires. Often the focus of these is less on relevant aspects of the product or service and more on labels and certificates, which are pounced upon as some kind of proxy environmental assurance. FPT, however, will enable public and B2B procurers to make informed choices based on real facts, while saving lots of time and money on the wasteful bureaucracy that is connected with form-filling.

Public procurement is a huge market and it’s a willing one

According to the European Commission white paper, Public Procurement for a Better Environment each year European public authorities spend up to 16% of the European Union’s Gross Domestic Product on products and services such as buildings, transport, cleaning services and food. This amounts to approximately 2 trillion euros annually. That is massive by anyone’s standards. Imagine the transformational power that could be brought into being if this buying power was used to favour goods and services with lower impacts on the environment. Through their procurement policies, governments could make a significant contribution to the speedy development of a market for sustainable goods. As we have seen previously in the car industry, new legislation can change the rules of the game dramatically, and regulation to introduce sustainability into government procurement would certainly do that. That’s why Green Public Procurement (GPP) has been adopted and targets set in 21 member states.

Here are some EU figures.

CO2 emissions would be cut by 15 million tonnes per year if the whole of the European Union adopted the same environmental criteria for lighting and electronic equipment as the city of Turku in Finland, where citizens have reduced electricity consumption by 50%. If the European public sector alone were to adopt the Danish Ministry of the Environment’s guidelines for cars, CO2 emissions would be cut by around 100,000 tonnes per year and fuel and operating costs by a third. But if all cars operating in Europe met these standards, then CO2 emissions would be reduced by 220 million tonnes, contributing significantly to the EU greenhouse gas emissions reduction target for 2020.

This is an example of a simple yet very powerful and wide reaching action that could immediately reduce our negative impact on the planet by dramatically reducing emissions and pollution.

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The Single Market For Green Products – Facts and figures

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The European Commission has released the following facts and figures from the Single Market for Green Products initiative:

* The global market for low carbon environmental goods and services is estimated at €4.2 trillion. EU companies’ market share is 21% (UK Department for Business, Innovations and Skills, 2012).

* Xerox reported savings of $400 million and Zara €500 million in 2009 by designing their products to minimise their life-cycle environmental impact.

* There are currently more than 400 environmental labels worldwide (www.ecolabelindex.com).
For analysis at company level, 80 leading methodologies and initiatives were identified according to which GHG reporting could be carried out (EC study, 2010).

* For product carbon footprinting, 62 leading initiatives and methods were identified (EC study, 2010).

* PUMA has stated that 94% of the environmental impacts of its products occur along the supply chain.

* 90% of consumers buy green products at least sometimes (Eurobarometer).

* 39% of consumers say business claims about the environment are not accurate (GFK, 2011).

* Only 6% of EU citizens trust producers’ claims about their products’ environmental performance completely (Eurobarometer, 2009).

* 94 companies examined used 585 different indicators in environmental reports. Of the indicators disclosed, 22% were used by more than 3 corporations; 55% were used only once (Journal of Cleaner production, 2012).

* Investors are interested: the investors’ base behind the Carbon Disclosure Project grew from 35 investors with assets of 4.5 trillion USD in 2003 to 655 investors with assets of 78 trillion USD in 2012.

* More than 1/3 of 250 business executives said that they could not keep up with consumer demand for sustainable products and services and 62% declared that sustainable investments were motivated by consumer expectations for green products (Accenture, 2012).

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PEF Policy Conference – 29-30 April – Berlin

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Join us at the PEF Policy Conference where they will release details on the upcoming pilot phase on the development and testing of Product and Organisational Environmental Footprinting Category Rules, benchmarks and communication vehicles.

Rana Pant from the European Commission Joint Research Center will be available to assist Michele Galatola from DG Environment on the technical aspects of the pilot phase. An updated programme for the event will be posted tomorrow here.

The PEF Policy Conference will be held on 29-30 April 2013 in Berlin. Objectives include; developing an early understanding of open questions, next steps and perspectives from different stakeholders on the future use of the detailed product environmental footprinting methodology and respective policy options. All participants are invited to actively contribute to the open dialogue to sharpen the common understanding of the road ahead.

Please click on the image below to find out all about the PCF World Forum including the program of events for this coming week.

Product Environmental  Footprinting (PEF)

Registration is still available via online or Fax Form

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Helping companies and consumers navigate the green maze

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The European Commission has released a fantastic initiative around the subject of ‘Building the Single Market for Green Products’. Helping companies and consumers navigate the green maze.

What is the problem for companies?

A company wishing to market its product as green in several Member State markets faces a confusing range of methods and initiatives. Let alone the hundreds of certification sharks, private labels and incumbent national systems that make a huge amount of money from this.

What is the problem for ‘Mum’ in the supermarket?

Consumers are also confused by the stream of incomparable and diverse environmental information: according to a recent Eurobarometer, 48 % of European consumers are confused by the stream of environmental information they receive. This also affects their readiness to make green purchases.

In the words of Commissioner Potocnik

“To boost sustainable growth, we need to make sure that the most resource-efficient and environmentally-friendly products on the market are known and recognisable. By giving people reliable and comparable information about the environmental impacts and credentials of products and organisations, we enable them to choose. And by helping companies to align their methods we cut their costs and administrative burdens.”

The commission has issued strong guidance on product footprinting as well as organisation footprinting. I will be commenting on these documents in the future.

The EC is launching a three-year pilot phase. Their objectives:

* Set up and validate the process of the development of product group-specific rules (Product Environmental Footprint Category Rules – PEFCRs), including the development of performance benchmarks. Where product group-specific rules already exist and are used by stakeholders, the Commission will use these as a basis for the development of the PEFCRs;

* Make the application of the environmental footprint methods easier, especially for SMEs, by testing innovative ways of managing the process and through the development of tools;

* Test different compliance and verification systems, in order to set up and validate proportionate, effective and efficient compliance and verification systems;

* Test different business-to-business and business-to-consumer communication vehicles for PEF information in collaboration with stakeholders.

I hope businesses will jump at these pilots to achieve our dream of open standards and push for full product transparency in the market without delay.

 

Links

Original press release

Draft Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council: Building the Single Market for Green Products – Facilitating better information on the environmental performance of products and organisations (April 2013)

Draft Commission Recommendation on The use of common methods to measure and communicate the life cycle environmental performance of products and organisations (April 2013)

Annex II of the Recommendation: Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) Guide (April 2013)

Annex III of the Recommendation: Organisation Environmental Footprint (OEF) Guide (April 2013)

For more information contact: 

Joe Hennon (+32 2 295 35 93) and Monica Westeren (+32 2 299 18 30)

 

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The magic metric that changed the car industry

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What has happened to the car industry using g CO2/km as a metric is a very good example of the depth of transformation that product transparency can deliver. This fascinating metric has enabled European regulators to mandate top-down targets for car companies, enabled customers to have a comparable reference for the car footprint and provide national and local legislators the means to tax what is higher impact and support what is lower.

This transparent metric has also created competition in the car sector with the focus being upon their biggest environmental impact, ‘in life use’, which in turn has created a huge level of innovation in the car industry and supply chain. A decade ago the car industry had no incentive to design cars that would consume any less petrol. It really wasn’t at the core of car manufacturers’ strategy.

The industry used to design cars that were affordable to build but not necessarily always affordable to run. Yet according to European Union (EU) research, passenger cars make up 12% of total EU CO2 emissions. And yet, according to the European Environmental Agency, around 77% of the impact of a passenger car is in the ‘use’ phase with a further 13% directly linked to the production of the fuel consumed in the ‘use’ phase.

Environmental impacts during the lifecycle of a car

SOURCEShttp://www.eea.europa.eu/data-and-maps/figures/life-cycle-analysis-of-passenger-cars and http://ec.europa.eu/environment/ipp/pdf/jrc_report.pdf

For this transformational change to take place an overall regulatory framework at EU, national and local level was needed. Furthermore, and crucially, a common industry metric was required that could be used in the car industry. That magic metric was to be tail-pipe (exhaust) emissions measured as grams of CO2 per kilometre driven (g CO2/km). Although incomplete, because it didn’t take into account whole-life CO2 emissions and environmental impacts, this partial transparency at least focused on the biggest issue and has transformed the industry. g CO2/ km has given a purpose to policy-making, often bureaucratic, expensive, ineffective and siloed. Below is an overview of some of the key regulatory interventions this common standardised metric has enabled.

First, the bottom-up approach.

The EU Car Labelling directive was enacted to ensure that a label on fuel economy and CO2 emissions is attached to a car or displayed in a clearly visible manner near each new passenger car model at the point of sale. This bottom-up approach was based on driving transparent competition, which in turn enabled the customer to make an informed decision taking into account the biggest environmental impact of the product. Most customers might still choose a car mainly by the design or the brand but at least they have the right to know the impact of their decisions. What has been the main result of this transparency? It has cut off all the ‘greenwash’. No manufacturer today is doing green marketing on the little things they are doing in their factories or their recyclable seats. Why? Because this wonderful metric is allowing customers to say, ‘please cut the fluff and just tell me the g CO2/km for this car’.

Sustainability commoditized as it should be, like money: terrible news for marketing agencies, great news for the world. The beauty of such a metric goes beyond ‘point of sale’ to ‘all promotional materials’. Thanks to the same directive, today all car advertising must include the g CO2/km for that specific car being advertised. That has created consistency and transparency whilst simultaneously empowering the customer to not only become accustomed to the metric but make critical buying decisions based on this metric. My mother today knows that 160g CO2/km is too much and 100 g CO2/km is acceptable. Many Londoners know cars under 100 g CO2/km don’t pay the congestion charge. Consistent transparency creates customer literacy and awareness which leads to change.

Second, the old-school, top-down approach.

This key metric allowed an EU-wide regulation that came into law in 2009, requiring each manufacturer to decrease their average portfolio of emissions to 130 g CO2/km by 2015 and 95 g CO2/km by 2020. In 2008, the average g CO2/km for car emissions in the UK was 158.0 g CO2/km. In 2009 that figure was 149.5 g CO2/km so the change because of legislation is huge. Look at how effective those ugly technocrats from Brussels have been! How ironic that the UK Climate Change Committee highlights cars as one of the few successes of carbon reductions in the UK. This legislation came about because the EU ran out of patience with industry voluntary agreements.

Yes, those voluntary agreements so loved by politicians because they don’t have to impose any difficult decisions. In 1998, the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA), JAMA, and KAMA agreed to reduce average CO2 emissions from new cars sold to 140 g/km by 2008. That was a 25% reduction, quite considerable. But predictably when there is no stick or carrot on the table, the car manufacturers’ commitment achieved a mere 2.2% reduction between 1998 and 2006. What would you expect? So the EU set up a mandatory target and crucially gave a sensible period of time (2020) to allow companies to invest, innovate and so make the necessary widespread changes required to meet the targets of this regulatory framework.

It also came with sticks in the form of financial penalties.

Surprise, surprise, it’s working! CO2 emissions from new passenger cars have started decreasing substantially: 1.6% in 2007, 3.2% in 2008 and 5.4% in 2009. That’s the beauty of the market: tell it what you want to achieve and it will find a way to do it. The problem is that on many occasions we don’t tell the market, our supplier, what we want, or worse, we don’t have the metrics. These two combined policies, of setting agreed, clearly measurable targets and making this information clearly visible to the end customer are completely changing the playing field of competition within the car industry. And this competition through innovation will compel manufactures to meet the EU-wide target of 95 g CO2/km by 2020. Car manufacturers are doing what they are best at – designing cars – as opposed to inventing labels, patronising customers with green marketing, ‘engaging’ employees, sustainability reporting and other semi-useless stuff. But our beloved metric goes much further. It can transform national and local policy-making aimed at changing behaviours and purchasing decisions. One example at national level is the French Bonus/Malus scheme. Simply put, customers choosing to buy a heavy polluting car will pay extra tax on the price of the car, whereas customers choosing to buy a more fuel efficient car will receive a reduction in the price of the car. The tax penalty ranges from €200–2600 per car.

The incentive reductions range from €200 to €5000 and higher for even cleaner cars.

Around 31% of new vehicles will be eligible for the bonus, 25% for the malus. There are around 44% of new vehicles currently emitting between 130 and 160 g CO2/km that are not affected by the new measure. Furthermore, the bonus will be deducted from the price paid to the dealer and must be identified and visible on the bill. These facts will also provide incentives to dealers to sell cleaner cars. Another example is UK company cars.

In the UK you pay more tax for your company car if your car produces more CO2. For example, for a car of less than 75 g CO2/km the tax rate for petrol cars is 5%. For a car of 150 g it is 19% and for a car of 235 g it is 35%. This is a good example of variable tax on a clean or dirty product. The more you pollute the more tax you pay. But our magic metric is also very useful at the local level.

In London, cars which emit 100 g/km or less of CO2 and meet the Euro 5 standard for air quality qualify for zero congestion charge. A 100% exemption from congestion charge also applies to electric vehicles. In many towns in the UK such as York, Salford or Milton Keynes and Richmond, one can have discounted residents’ parking if you have a low carbon vehicle and free parking if you have an electric car.

Guess what? Customers are paying attention to the environment! Such a crazy bunch of tree-huggers…

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An Interview with Michele Galatola – ‘EU Environmental Footprinting’

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Michele Galatola from DG Environment at the European Commission provides an overview on the rationale of the EU environmental footprinting methodology.

In this short video he describes the addressed audience and possible fields of application of the methodology.

Furthermore Michele Galatola shares insights on the role of environmental footprinting in future EU policy.

From the PCF World Forum, Sep 2012 (Published Nov 2012) –

Renewable Resources in the Value Chain. A Viable Option for Reducing Environmental Footprints?”

About the PCF World Forum

Consumption of goods and services indirectly contributes to a large share of worldwide GHG emissions. Efforts are underway to better understand, manage and reduce these emissions. Standards and tools for carbon footprinting as well as more comprehensive environmental and sustainability metrics are developed, refined and practically tested.

The Product Carbon Footprint (PCF) World Forum is a neutral platform to share practical experiences and knowledge towards climate-conscious consumption and production. The international platform provides orientation in current standardisation processes and creates opportunities for discussing international corporate best practices and emerging tools to support low carbon and climate-conscious consumption models.

The PCF World Forum was created out of the ambition to talk with each other and not just about each other given the ever increasing number of initiatives around the world and often little real understanding of respective approaches and activities.

PCF World Forum is an initiative by Berlin based think-do-tank THEMA1.

www.pcf-world-forum.org

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‘Breakthrough’ – latest report by Volans – A must read!

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Breaththrough by Volans - Sustainability ReportJohn Elkington, Susie Braun and the team at Volans have pulled this report together titled ‘Breakthrough’

‘Breakthrough’, their seventh publication to date draws on five years of work and over 100 interviews with key people in the field for this project to sketch a manifesto and linked agenda to help move towards Breakthrough change. The report focusses on solutions across the economic, environmental, social and governance agendas. Their criteria for this agenda can be found on page 18 and mapping of progress to date can be found on page 51, tracking the evolution of the agenda from early denial to today’s growing interest at the leading edge of business in catalysing market revolutions.

Their sub-website www.breakthroughcapitalism.com goes into much greater detail, and the report can be downloaded here.

Here is an excerpt from the beginning of the report:

Business leadership is now make-or-break in rebooting capitalism

” A spectre is haunting the global economy — the spectre of economic, social and environmental breakdown.

Some people will instantly recognize that these words echo the Communist Manifesto, published in 1848.7 We are champions of future-ready capitalism, but it is hard when re-reading Marx and Engels to ignore the striking parallels with today’s world, with an old order breaking down—and a new one struggling to be born.

Sustainability Report - We Burned Our Way To Prosperity

The bloody chaos that ensued as various forms of communism helped socialize capitalism, forcing wrenching changes in wealth distribution, suggests that the timing and scale of our responses will determine the future prospects of billions of people. But at a time when we are incurring ever-greater debt—including environmental debt imposed on future generations—it is time for a giant, sustained deleveraging of our economies.

Drawing on the 26 presentations at our first Breakthrough Capitalism Forum8 and some 100 subsequent interviews with leading figures in the field, we have distilled the various calls for action into this brief Manifesto.It is set in the context of the three scenarios spotlighted at the Forum and on pages 16–19: ‘Breakdown,’ ‘Change-as-Usual’ and ‘Breakthrough.’

Volans is pursuing several Breakthrough trajectories. They include the promotion of zero-based targeting in business and public policy, with our agenda laid out in The Zeronauts: Breaking the Sustainability Barrier; 9 our involvement in initiatives pushing the boundary of science and technology, among them Biomimicry 3.8, 10 founded by Janine Benyus, and cleantech venture fund Zouk Capital; 11 and C-Suite-focused platforms like The B Team,12 whose co-presidents are Sir Richard Branson and Jochen Zeitz, former CEO of PUMA (pages 17 and 26).

Among projects in the pipeline: a new book, Tomorrow’s Bottom Line, co-authored by John Elkington and Jochen Zeitz. “

Well done to John and the team.

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