Environmental footprint of products and organisations
The European Commission has put forward proposals to standardise measurements for assessing the environmental footprint of products and organisations. The new common standard will be based on life-cycle assessment and will reward the most resource-efficient products and organisations on the European market. The plans are designed to reduce confusion over product labelling among consumers and to reduce the cost to businesses of providing environmental information.
The European Commission is to put forward proposals next month requiring companies to publish information on their management of environmental and social issues. The move follows publication in October 2011 of the Commission’s 2011-14 Strategy for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). The mandatory reporting requirements will apply to large companies in the public and private sectors but not to small and medium-sized enterprises.
European Commission has launched the European Innovation Partnership on Raw Materials, bringing together Member States and other stakeholders to help make Europe a world leader in raw materials exploration, extraction, processing, recycling and substitution by 2020. To this end, the Commission proposes concrete targets to be achieved by 2020 to reduce Europe's dependency on imported raw materials, to replace rare materials with substitutes and to set up innovative pilot actions, e.g. pilot plants for exploration, mining, processing, collecting and recycling.
European Commission publishes results from stakeholder consultation on Sustainable Consumption and Production
European stakeholders want to see a higher level of synergy and complementarity between EU sustainable consumption and production (SCP) regulatory instruments according to the results of a survey published by DG Environment. Stronger harmonisation and alignment among existing instruments, rather than the introduction of a new legal framework for sustainable products, are among the key findings of the ‘Consultation on Delivering more Sustainable Consumption and Production’.
The European Commission gave out over 1.2 billion euro ($1.59 billion) in grants this week to 23 “highly innovative” renewable energy demonstration projects in a bid to boost the development of clean technologies in the European Union.
The funds were taken from revenues obtained from the sale of 200 million emissions allowances from new participants’ reserve of the E.U. Emissions Trading System.
The European Commission has finalised its working plan for energy-using products to be covered under the European Ecodesign Directive for 2012-14. It has established an indicative list of twelve broad product groupsto be considered for the adoption of implementing measures designed to increase resource efficiency and cut greenhouse emissions. The list includes water-related products such as showerheads and taps, steam boilers, windows, computer servers, smart meters and wine coolers.
The European Commission has released its proposal for the 7th Environment Action Programme (EAP). Entitled ‘Living well, within the limits of our planet’, it will guide EU environmental policy to 2020. The EAP aims to achieve an inclusive green economy, protect the EU’s natural capital and address environment-related threats to EU citizens’ health. The proposal is to be considered by the European Parliament and the EU Council before becoming law, subject to agreement.
The European Commission has released its Water Blueprint, a new EU strategy on the use of water resources. The Blueprint aims to make water use sustainable in the EU, and has been designed in response to an increasing pressure to provide good quality water for human needs, economic activities and the environment. It is closely aligned to the EU’s 2020 strategy, and, in particular, the 2011 Resource Efficiency Roadmap.
On the 13. November delivered the European Commissioner for the Environment Janez Potočnik a keynote speech at the European Resource Efficiency Forum "Vision 2020 - the role of resource efficiency for Europe´s future." The speech was focused on the way that the EU will implement related key policy priorities and vidions, and how this must be communicated.
The Commission on 17 October published a proposal to limit global land conversion for biofuel production, and raise the climate benefits of biofuels used in the EU. The use of food-based biofuels to meet the 10 % renewable energy target of the Renewable Energy Directive will be limited to 5 %. This is to stimulate the development of alternative, so-called second generation biofuels from non-food feedstock, like waste or straw, which emit substantially less greenhouse gases than fossil fuels and do not directly interfere with global food production.