News & Features 2017
National Coordinator Catch-Up: Karen Silts (Estonia) (17/07/2017)
Where Are They Now: Hipp-Werk Georg Hipp OHG (03/07/2017)
European Aluminium: Driving Mobility to a Low Carbon Future (19/06/2017)
Green Week 2017 Explores How to Boost Green Jobs (05/06/2017)
Focus On: Biodiversity in Standards and Labels for the Food Industry (22/05/2017)
EMAS Awards 2017 (08/05/2017)
Where Are They Now: Hydromx (EBAE 2016-17 Winner) (18/04/2017)
Focus On: 25 Years of EU Ecolabel (10/04/2017)
Coordinator Catch Up: Jean-Paul Ventere (France) (03/04/2017)
EU Circular Economy Mission to South Africa to Boost Business and Policy Ties (27/03/2017)
National Awards Ceremony: Bulgaria (13/03/2017)
National Awards Ceremony: Spain (01/03/2017)
Focus On: Biodiversity (20/02/2017)
National Awards Ceremony: United Kingdom (06/02/2017)
Where Are They Now: CMS Window Systems (EBAE 2016-17 Winner) (30/01/2017)
Catch-Up with an EBAE National Coordinator: Mr Rifat Unal Sayman, Turkey (16/01/2017)
National Coordinator Catch-Up: Karen Silts (Estonia) (Monday 17th July)
We caught up with Karen Silts, EBAE’s Estonian National Coordinator to find out how the national Finalists for the European Business Awards for the Environment are selected in Estonia.
How does your competition work?
The Estonian Business Awards for the Environment are designed to recognise and promote organisations that make an outstanding contribution to sustainable development, innovation and the circular economy. Every year, the Estonian Ministry of the Environment rewards successful companies that demonstrate commitment to putting innovation and sustainable development into action while maintaining economic viability.
The awards highlight policies, practices, processes and products from all sectors of business in Estonia that help to achieve ‘economic and social development without detriment to the environment and natural resources upon the quality of which continued human activity and further development depend’. Winners are recognised in the following three categories: Management, Product and Services, and Process Innovation. The jury can also give special prizes for International Business Cooperation, and Business and Biodiversity.
Approximately twenty companies submit nominations to the award programme each October for consideration by an independent jury who evaluate the Finalists. National finalists and winners are announced at the award ceremony, which usually takes place in January. Based on the assessment of the jury, the national competition winners will be sent to the European competition (the National Coordinator supports companies to apply to the pan-European European Business Awards for the Environment).
Who attends the awards ceremony?
The Ministry of the Environment, the competition organiser, hosts the ceremony and presents the awards to the winners. Together with the jury and competition participants, approximately 200 representatives from across government, business and other social organisations are invited to attend the award ceremony. At the ceremony, videos of each of the category winners are presented, and the award results are released via the press.
What are your recommendations for businesses wanting to apply?
The Estonian Business Awards for the Environment recognises those companies at the forefront of eco-innovation, or which have a respect for the environment at the very core of their business principles.
But in my mind, it is always an excellent opportunity to produce something that is already on the market, but to do it better and in a more environmentally friendly way. Think bigger and more globally; what makes your business special in a crowded market?
And finally, what difference do you think it makes to win a European Business Award for the Environment?
The competition is organized every second year with the aim to identify the environmentally-friendly enterprises who have taken actions that had a positive influence on the environment, and, through acknowledging the winners of the competition, to inspire other companies, organizations and private persons to use similar nature-friendly solutions.
Secondly, the competition gives great opportunities for the companies: to go global, to access new markets, new clients, get bigger investors or even improve their environmental performance and sustainability. EBAE certainly encourages companies to go further and be more INNOVATIVE!
Where Are They Now: Hipp-Werk Georg Hipp OHG (Monday 3rd July)
HiPP-Werk Georg Hipp OHG, an organic baby food company, won the Business and Biodiversity Award in 2016 for their project “20 Years of HiPP Sustainability Management.” This is the story of how winning the EBAE award has impacted their business.
“Being rewarded by an institution of the European Commission means a lot to HiPP.
Since we are one of the biggest producers of organic raw materials worldwide and were recently celebrating our 60th anniversary of organic production, HiPP has always focused on preserving nature, which means nothing other than sustainment of biodiversity. HiPP’s sustainability management has incorporated biodiversity into the company’s operations. The entire supply chain is being taken into consideration, thus implementing a systematic sustainability management at all levels.
HiPP consistently improves its processes and regulations in terms of sustainability in every possible way. Hence, since receiving the very much-appreciated European Business Award for the Environment in 2016, many things have progressed. Amongst other developments, the company became EMASplus certified in March 2017 - the first German company in food industry to achieve such status. EMASplus is a holistic social management system, which integrates economical, ecological and social standards.
Furthermore, we were awarded the German CSR-award in April 2017 for the avoidance of CO2 as a contribution to climate protection. Between 2000 and 2016, HiPP was able to minimize its CO2 emissions up to 90 percent – despite increasing output.
Not only does official recognition honour our efforts in terms of product development and the pursuit of environmental sustainability, but the customers themselves notice and value such awards. In a recent survey of approximately 450,000 people, HiPP again came first place for being the most sustainable producer of baby food in Germany.
At all our company sites, both within and without Europe, HiPP aims to fulfil the same high quality standards in terms of a sustainable business management. For instance, our HiPP Croatia Team was recently rewarded with the CSR-award for medium sized companies as part of the 8th Corporate Social Responsibility Conference in Croatia.
Let’s conclude with a rather appropriate indicator of HiPP’s support of scientific research in terms of protecting biodiversity. The butterfly species Rhodochlora, whose appearance shows that nature is still in balance, has a new member. It was recently discovered in the rainforest and has been named Rhodochlora claushippi, in honour of Claus Hipp in biodiversity and producing sustainable and ecological baby food for 60 years.”
For more details, visit Hipp.com
European Aluminium: Driving Mobility to a Low Carbon Future (Monday 19th June)
The European aluminium industry is engaged in supporting the transition to a low carbon and circular economy. Mobility is a fundamental pillar of this commitment, as reflected during our recent event, ‘driving mobility to a low carbon future’. At the event, held in Brussels on 27th April, more than 250 participants were able to experience the lightweight, innovative and fully recyclable aluminium solutions that will enable low carbon mobility.
So just how can the transport sector reach future CO2 targets in the most cost efficient manner? A simple question that triggered the attention of participants including key lawmakers such as Adina-Ioana Vălean MEP, high level Commission officials, industry representatives, academia and NGOs. All those present exchanged views on the future reform of CO2 for cars and vans - expected by the end of the year.
European Aluminium led the debate with some important remarks by its top representatives. “The aluminium industry is a strong supporter of the transition to low carbon mobility. As a lightweight material, using aluminium in vehicles both reduces CO2 emissions and improves fuel efficiency,” said Kjetil Ebbesberg, Chair of European Aluminium and Executive Vice President of Rolled Products at Hydro. “Demand for aluminium in the automotive market – already growing for several decades – is projected to further increase in the coming years. Clearly aluminium’s unique properties as strong, light and fully recyclable are not just appreciated but demanded.”
The aluminium content in cars is forecast to increase by up to 30% over the next ten years, increasing from 150 kg today to 200 kg in 2025, provided lightweighting is better encouraged in future regulations. Today, the average European car weighs 1400 kg. When replacing mild steel, 200 kg of aluminium in a car can make the car 200 kg lighter, thereby reducing CO2 emissions by up to 16 grams per kilometre. Taking into account that on average car manufacturers in Europe have to move from under 120 g/km to 95 g/km by 2021, increasing the aluminium content in cars could play a significant role in helping car manufacturers reach this target.
Gerd Götz, Director General of European Aluminium added, “all low carbon mobility roads lead to lightweighting. Lightweighting solutions are integral to limiting CO2 emissions from vehicles and reaching future EU targets. Currently the situation in the EU is paradoxical: heavier cars are allowed to emit more CO2 emissions than lighter cars. We expect the new regulation to remain technology-neutral. In practice, this means abandoning the mass-based approach. Car manufacturers should be free to choose the most cost efficient solutions to attain their CO2 reduction objective.”
Watch a short recap of the event, including an interview with Chairwoman of the ENVI Committee, MEP Adina-Ioana Valean
We asked people to imagine the future of mobility in three words or less. See what they said.
We all know Schuman roundabout as a hub to pass through. But what if it were a place to spend time in? Here’s our vision for Schuman in
Two lucky participants at our event won a Ricicletta, a lightweight aluminium bike made from 800 recycled beverage cans. Missed out? Get your own!
To learn more about European Aluminium, please visit http://www.european-aluminium.eu
To learn more about the EBAE promoters, or how to become a promoter yourself, please visit http://ec.europa.eu/environment/awards/promoters.html
Green Week 2017 Explores How to Boost Green Jobs (Monday 5th June)
Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis and Commissioner Karmenu Vella at the Green Week Green Jobs Summit as part of Green Week 2017
EU Green Week, the annual opportunity to explore and discuss European environmental policy, is the seminal event on the EU environment policy calendar. Each year, it attracts leading policymakers, environmentalists, and other key stakeholders from across the globe.
The 2017 event, organised by the European Commission’s Directorate General for the Environment, took place in Brussels and across Europe between 29th May and 2nd June. Under the theme ‘green jobs for a greener future’
, the event considered growth in the EU, and how environmental policies and actions are creating green jobs, a demand for new green skills, and contributing towards this growth in a financially rewarding, socially responsible, and sustainable way.
As EU Commissioner Karmenu Vella put it, “a green job is a triple win; it is good for the planet, good for the economy, and good for the people who do the job”
. Under Europe’s shift towards a circular economy, the environmental sector saw a solid performance in terms of job creation in the past decade, despite a difficult economic climate. Although growth in green jobs has levelled out to come into line with growth in the rest of the economy, there is still a great potential for job creation, and new opportunities are expected to emerge in the areas of renewable power, recycling, farming, transport, water and the maritime sectors.
Each day of the event focussed on a different aspect of green jobs and the skills gap: green jobs in the countryside, green jobs and water, working towards a greener future, green jobs for oceans, and green jobs in our cities.
On day one, ‘green jobs in the countryside’
, Commissioner Vella called for the right training and support to create to help address the green skills gap, particularly for SMEs. Across Europe, other Green Week events included an EU Ecolabel award ceremony in Barcelona, in Brussels a debate on the crucial role of farmers and forest owners in creating sustainable green jobs, and in Oslo a discussion about how to generate green growth between the city’s Mayor and business leaders.
On day two, about ‘green jobs and water’
, events across Europe considered the EU’s standards for drinking water and waste water treatment, and the role of water in the circular economy. Day two also saw the opening of the EU Green Jobs Summit in Brussels, which included high-level speakers from across Europe and a TEDx style session with green entrepreneurs, as well as the Green Awards ceremony, celebrating 25 years of successful projects funded through the EU’s LIFE programme.
Day three, ‘working towards a greener future’
, explored the skills and knowledge required to transform the job market and help existing white and blue jobs to become green, and how to make a circular and low carbon economy a reality in an environment of growth. Other events across Europe included a debate on how the EU and China can cooperate on developing the circular economy in both parts of the world, and a debate on energy-efficient construction in the Netherlands, amongst others.
The events of day four, ‘green jobs for oceans
, considered the potential of ‘blue’ jobs, or the ocean and maritime sector. From marine and coastal protection to aquaculture, tourism, and ocean energy, there is much potential for green jobs in the sustainable ocean sector.
On day five, participants across Europe explored the theme of ‘green jobs in our cities’
, and how we can develop areas in a sustainable manner, whilst finding new ways to generate eco-innovation, green technologies, and green jobs in our cities.
To learn more about Green Week 2017, or for updates on Green Week 2018 (‘sustainable cities’), please visit https://www.eugreenweek.eu
Focus On: Biodiversity in Standards and Labels for the Food Industry (Monday 22nd May)
The loss of biodiversity is one of the biggest challenges of our times. Human activities are driving species loss 1000 times faster than it would have been under normal circumstances. Many ecosystems, which provide us essential resources, are at a risk of collapsing. The conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity is not simply an environment issue but it is a key requirement for our nutrition, production processes, services and the overall quality of life. In combination with the agricultural sector, food producers and retailers have a great impact on biodiversity. Unfortunately, biodiversity protection does not yet represent one of their primary targets. In general, the interactions between human activity and biodiversity are complex. Due to this complexity, reducing the negative effects on nature in the complete supply chain of a food product - from the field to the shelf - poses a challenge.
Standards and labels for the food industry help qualify certain attributes of a product and the process of production itself. They guide consumers with information about the quality of products, their environmental footprint, and impact on nature.
The environmental foundations Global Nature Fund and Lake Constance Foundation analysed 19 standards and labels in the food sector. The results show a clear need for action. So far, biodiversity-related criteria rarely go beyond the common approach of good agricultural practices; they are often unclear in their formulation and take into account the causes of biodiversity loss only partially. Often, auditors and certification companies do not have the necessary knowledge needed to classify and supervise the measures taken for biodiversity protection.
The main project objective is to improve the biodiversity performance of standards and labels within the food industry, by a) supporting standard-setting organizations to include efficient biodiversity criteria into their schemes; and b) motivating food processing companies and retailers to include biodiversity criteria into their sourcing guidelines.
This is achieved through:
• Trainings for certifiers and auditors as well as the responsible personnel in companies.
• Development and implementation of a universal monitoring-system for biodiversity.
• Dissemination of results and information to the food sector and standard-setting organizations.
A European-wide initiative on “Biodiversity in Standards and Labels of the Food Sector” will continue working on the topic even after this project ends in 2020.
Forty standards and food labels will be evaluated for their biodiversity criteria and a baseline report will be formulated. The report will be discussed with different actors of the food business and recommendations for the improvement of the criteria will be given. Interested standards organisations and companies will be advised in the revision of their criteria. In addition, an "Easy Guide" will be published on biodiversity criteria in standards, labels and corporate guidelines in Spanish, French, Portuguese, English and German.
With the help of a newly developed Biodiversity Performance Tool (BPT), the current situation and the further development for biodiversity protection on farms can be analysed. Through a pilot project involving farms in cereal cultivation (Germany), tomato cultivation (Spain), olive production (Spain), in grasslands used for meat production (Portugal) and grasslands used for milk production and dairy products (France), the BPT will be tested. The final version of the BPT will be made available for certifiers, assessors and product manager. They will also be involved in a training program to strengthen their knowledge and expertise on biodiversity.
Finally, a monitoring-system and database tracking the biodiversity performance at farm level will be set up. Standard-setting and label organizations will be informed and invited to join the common monitoring approach. Using this database, standard-setting organizations and companies will be able to monitor the positive effects and help these organizations constantly improve upon their criteria and measures. Agreements will be made with standard-setting organizations and companies to implement the monitoring system.
The project-results will be disseminated to standard-setting organizations, companies with own specific requirements, food processing companies, environmental organizations and authorities at the national and European level. Amongst other means, trade fairs and events will be used to further advocate the tool, and the need to set up biodiversity based monitoring systems.
Furthermore, a sector specific initiative called “Biodiversity Performance in the Food Sector” will be created. The aim of this initiative is to raise the biodiversity performance by using commonly accepted and implemented priority criteria for biodiversity within the whole food sector. This initiative will help facilitate regular exchange among representatives from the food industry, standard-setting organizations and other stakeholders. The monitoring system will be eventually handed over to the coordinators of the Biodiversity Performance Initiative.
To learn more, visit www.business-biodiversity.eu
EMAS Awards 2017 (Monday 8th May)
The EMAS Award 2017 winners together with EU Commissioner Karmenu Vella: Large, private organisation, Martin's Hotels (BE); SME, Seacourt (UK); public organisation, HNEE (DE)
The EU Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) is a premium management instrument developed by the European Commission for companies and other organisations to evaluate, report, and improve their environmental performance. EMAS is open to every type of organisation eager to improve its environmental performance. It spans all economic and service sectors and is applicable worldwide.
In 2005 the European Commission decided to reward the excellent work of EMAS registered organisations in environmental protection by introducing the EMAS Awards. The EMAS Awards now take place every two years, alternating with the European Business Awards for the Environment (EBAE).
The event provides a cornerstone for promoting EMAS and the Awards winners, as well as a platform facilitating the dialogue between key stakeholders. Much like EBAE, the Awards are an opportunity for EMAS-registered organisations to come together share and promote their best environmental management practices.
The theme for the 2017 edition of the EMAS Awards was ‘contributing to making the European economy more circular’
. The EMAS awards ceremony, which took place on 8th May in Valetta, Malta, was preceded by a conference on sustainable tourism organised in the context of the UN International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.
The awards recognised organisations that took steps to make their operations or business model more resource efficient, for instance by redesigning products to increase their lifetime, or reducing waste.
The winners of the EMAS Awards 2017 are:
Small and Medium Private Organisations
Seacourt Ltd (United Kingdom)
Winner in the category Large Organisations
Martin’s Hotels SA (Belgium)
Winner in the category Public Organisations
Hochschule für nachhaltige Entwicklung Eberswalde (Germany)
Small and Medium Private Organisations
PMC Holding (Belgium)
Acqua & Sole S.r.l. (Italy)
Wiegel Verwaltung GmbH & Co. KG (Germany)
The European Parliament (EU, registered in France)
The Comune di Tavarnelle Val Di Pesa (Italy)
Congratulations to all the EMAS 2017 award winners from all of us here at EBAE!
To see the full coverage of the EMAS awards ceremony and the conference on sustainable tourism, please visit http://www.ec.europa.eu/environment/emas/emas_for_you/emas_awards/emas_awards_ceremony_en.htm
To learn more about EMAS and how to apply / nominate for the 2019 awards, please visit
For more details, please visit: http://www.ecolabel.eu
Where Are They Now: Hydromx (EBAE 2016-17 Winner) (Tuesday 18th April)
Turkish company Hydromx won the Product and Services Award in 2016 for their energy-efficient heat transfer fluid. This is the story, told by the company, of how winning the EBAE award has impacted on their business.
Although our care for the environment is fundamental to our business and not just to receive awards or recognition, it was nonetheless a tremendous honour to receive such a meaningful award in the 2016-17 European Business Awards for the Environment.
At Hydromx we always aim to leave a better world for the next generations. For the past decade, we have been able to make a reality the idea of using a better heat transfer fluid, rather than water itself. We feel so proud that we created the very first product capable of achieving a better and more effective heat transfer product.
If only 5% of the world used Hydromx® today, 86.5 tons of Co2 emissions would be saved, equalling yearly energy savings in excess of 50 Billion USD. These figures equal roughly to 231 million trees.
We know this is not an easy goal to achieve! There is a commercial component to it, which is central to our whole business: Sales, Distribution, Installation, Service, Monitoring, and Verification.
We have trying to achieve market success locally for almost ten years, and internationally for the last four years. Being part of the European Business Awards for the Environment has afforded us significant publicity we would not otherwise been able to achieve on our own; not only within Europe, but also internationally.
In addition to the valuable coverage we gained from the promotion of the awards at EU-level, we were also able to promote the win regularly through our web site and social media channels, and asked our business partners in the USA, India, Czech Republic, UK, Ireland, Israel, Benelux, and Turkey to do the same.
After receiving the award, we signed an agreement with our newest business partner from Israel. We are discussing new business opportunities with United Arab Emirates, Australia, Germany and Austria, and since the awards we have been inundated by emails from all around world, asking for more information and possible partnerships.
In short, no amount of investment in PR could have bought us the attention we gained from being a winner of a prestigious EBAE award.
Today we are working hard on Research & Development for more environmentally focused products in energy industry, as well as two different industries. We are looking for further opportunities to produce all of our products locally together with our partners, in order to cut transportation costs. This translates into a reduction in Co2 emissions and more job opportunities.
We are working very hard towards a better future, and EBAE has supported us in this mission in an invaluable way.
To learn more about Hydromx, please visit: www.hydromx.com
Focus On: 25 Years of EU Ecolabel (Monday 10th April)
The EU Ecolabel is a voluntary eco-labelling scheme launched in 1992 to encourage the production and consumption of green goods and services across the European Union. It distinguishes environmentally friendly products by awarding them a distinctive and easily recognisable symbol of environmental quality – the EU Ecolabel logo. Today, more than 38,000 products and services carry the logo.
For its 25th year anniversary, the EU Ecolabel remains a key driver in promoting circular economy. From the beginning, its strict product group criteria were already based on the main principles of the circular economy supporting both sustainable production and consumption: products that have a lower environmental impact and contribute to sustainable development along its life cycle, in addition to energy efficiency, durability and reparability. Thanks to transparent ecological criteria, consumers can make conscious choices, without compromising on the quality of the products.
The Institute for Prospective Technological Studies of the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, based in Seville, has been responsible for developing the technical criteria sets for each of the 29 product groups, to which the licence holders must comply to in order to obtain an EU Ecolabel licence. Each product and service group criteria document has concrete parallels with the objectives of the Circular Economy Package as well as the Global Sustainable Development Goal 12.
A perfect example of the innovative quality of EU Ecolabel products is ALGO PAINTS by FELOR, a company shortlisted for the 2016-17 European Business Awards for the Environment and which produces environmentally friendly paint using algae. FELOR have successfully brought eco-innovation as well as a consideration for the environment and health front and centre within its manufacturing process through compliance to its EU Ecolabel award.
The EU Ecolabel criteria for paint products sets forth a guarantee of superior longevity in relation to conventional products through its requirement to increase the efficiency of paint in order to reduce the number of coats of paint needed for optimal paint coverage, quick drying time, and durability. EU Ecolabel ALGO PAINTS, which are composed of 98% of bio-based raw materials including algae and other natural components, consequently reduce VOCs emissions, thus improving indoor air quality. Furthermore, as result of its high-covering properties upon application, the thermal efficiency of buildings is increased. By exploiting the opportunities of plant-based chemistry, FELOR has created a quality EU Ecolabel product line that is better for the environment and better for you.
For more details, please visit: www.ecolabel.eu
Coordinator Catch Up: Jean-Paul Ventere (France) (Monday 3rd April)
We caught up with Jean-Paul Ventere, EBAE’s French National Coordinator, to find out how the national Finalists for the European Business Awards for the Environment are selected in France.
1) How does your competition work?
In France, the National Environmental Awards (the "Prix Entreprises et Environnement") have been organized by the Ministry of Environment since 1987. It is an annual competition, which gives us the opportunity to select our very best national winners who should be nominated to represent France at the European level. For 2017, we have five award categories:
• Circular Economy
• Climate Change (reduction or adaptation)
• Best Environmental Reporting from Companies
• Innovation in Technologies and Economical Models.
As these categories differ from the European categories, we consider which companies have the best chance to compete in the EBAE categories at the European level. It means also that we ask our national winners to complete (in English) the European nominations forms with a fresh outlook.
2) Tell us about the awards ceremony?
Our annual ceremony takes place in a great exhibition hall either during Salon Pollutec in the city of Lyon, or World Efficiency in Paris (it alternates each year). The awards are usually presented to the winners by the Minister of the Environment (there have been only a few exceptions in 30 years).
3) Who can apply to the awards in France?
We encourage companies of all types to apply. The idea is to be self-confident and to apply, regardless of the size of the company. In each category, the jury is sensitive to whatever efforts have been made by any company. Their efforts are judged in the context of their industry, but innovation is always the keyword.
4) And finally, what difference do you think it makes to win a European Business Award for the Environment?
Winning an award at the European level represents a great recognition for any company of their hard work, efforts and innovation. But the element of ‘surprise’ (not knowing if you are the winner until the last moment) can be harder to manage emotionally!
EU Circular Economy Mission to South Africa to Boost Business and Policy Ties (Monday 27th March)
The Directorate-General (DG) for the Environment of the European Commission is organising a Circular Economy Mission to South Africa on 2-5 May 2017. Representatives of private companies and of industry associations who are interested in fostering circular economy in South Africa are invited to join.
The Mission will pursue three main objectives: (1) to promote circular economy, innovation and sustainable and inclusive growth in the EU and in South Africa; (2) to help EU green business and in particular SMEs to operate internationally, and (3) to promote green business partnerships in targeted sectors.
The EU delegation will participate in a number of high-level meetings with the South African government and also at business-to business and matchmaking events. They will also attend the World Economic Forum on Africa, which will take place on 4-5 May 2017 in Pretoria.
Meetings will take place with the EU Chamber, South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI), Black Management Forum (BMF), National Business Initiative (NBI), Recycling and Economic Development Initiative of South Africa (REDISA). The delegation will also meet representatives of the Department of Environmental Affairs, Department of trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Energy (DoE), Department of Science & technology (DST).
In particular, the focus will be on eco-innovation, chemicals and plastic, waste, water management, marine pollution and urban environmental best practices. Participating entrepreneurs and associations will be able to network with EU and local companies and institutions active in the above areas.
The Circular Economy Missions are a series of high-level political and business meetings in third countries to communicate and promote sustainable and resource-efficient policies. The first Mission took place to Chile in April 2016 and the second one to China in November 2016. The Mission to China included 79 representatives of 34 companies; 15 European business associations and 6 national business associations.
For more information, please visit:
National Awards Ceremony: Bulgaria (Monday 13th March)
At a formal ceremony on 14 March 2017 the Bulgarian Business Leaders Forum (BBLF) announced the winners of its 2016 Responsible Business Awards.
The Annual Responsible Business Awards champion the private sector’s considerable support for community projects in the fields of education; protection of the environment; employee development; motivating more companies to embrace corporate responsibility and sustainability; and many more. 84 four entries from 57 companies ran in the 14th edition of this country’s most prominent CSR competition.
Over 300 guests from BBLF member-companies, companies and organizations that nominated their entries, supporters of BBLF from the NGO sector, diplomats and the media attended the awards ceremony.
The prizes in six categories were handed out by Prime Minister Prof. Ognyan Gerdzhikov, Sofia Mayor Yordanka Fandakova, Education Minister Prof. Nikolay Denkov, Economy Minister Teodor Sedlarski, Labour and Social Policy Minister Galab Donev, Deputy Minister of the Environment Reneta Koleva and British Ambassador Emma Hopkins.
Winners of the Investor in Environment category, which saw 8 entries, received their prizes from Deputy Minister of the Environment Reneta Koleva. The big prize went to telecom operator Mtel for their Mtel Eco Grant 2016, an annual programme that funds small yet valuable projects in the field of environmental protection. BTV Media Group and their Let’s Clean Up Bulgaria Together campaign ranked second and Lidl Bulgaria ranked third with their Efficient Waste Management programme.
In addition to the recognition from the BBLF Awards, the three finalists in the environment category are also eligible to be nominated for the 2018-19 European Business Awards for the Environment.
For more details, please visit:
National Awards Ceremony: Spain (Monday 1st March)
The Spanish national competition for the European Business Awards for the Environment has been held in Spain since 1997. Fundación Biodiversidad, from the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Food and Environment, has been Spain’s EBAE National Coordinator since 2013.
In the 2015-2016 edition of the awards, Fundación Biodiversidad received 184 applications from successful and innovative businesses. 12 companies excelled in the different categories and were considered winners or runner-up eligible for the European competition. Specific presentations for each were prepared (in Spanish):
MAHOU SAN MIGUEL
EWASTE CANARIAS S.L.
Product and services award:
IRIZAR Sociedad Cooperativa
ENERGY REVIVAL S.L.
ONYX SOLAR ENERGY, S.L. (runner-up)
GERDAU ACEROS ESPECIALES DE EUROPA, S.L.
ENDESA, S.A. (runner-up)
GLEN BIOTECH S.L. (runner-up)
International Business Cooperation Award:
MADITER TRADE S.L.
Special Mention: Business and Biodiversity:
AGROTECHNNICAL SERVICES S.L.
MAR CRISTAL MARILUM S.L. (runner-up)
In addition to the European Business Awards for the Environment, Fundación Biodiversidad has a strong focus in helping companies be more competitive and lead the way in environmental issues. As national managers of the European Social Fund, Fundación Biodiversidad has supported the creation and consolidation of more than 2,600 companies or new lines of business in economic sectors related to the environment and has also created a specific network for green entrepreneurs with more than 8.000 operational users since 2011. This has been the first specialized green business network in Spain, fostering green entrepreneurship, helping to provide feasibility to business plans, offering tailored services to entrepreneurs and SMEs and serving as a link with potential investors.
Also, Fundación Biodiversidad coordinates the Spanish Business and Biodiversity Initiative, helping big companies to integrate biodiversity in their business models and helping to channel funding to conservation initiatives in the field of nature conservation.
A more sustainable economy is needed to ensure the conservation of our natural heritage and the wellbeing of our society. At Fundación Biodiversidad we understand that companies are one of our natural allies for this objective and that we need to go hand-in-hand.
For more information, please contact Victoria Pérez: EBAE@funacion-biodiversidad.es
Focus On: Biodiversity (Monday 20th February)
Biodiversity was a hot topic for discussion in the EBAE jury; we discussed why with Lars Müller, Policy Officer DG Environment, currently coordinating the Business and Biodiversity Platform of the European Commission, a forum for working with private business to integrate biodiversity considerations into business practice.
1) Why is biodiversity important for business?
Every business impacts and depends on natural capital and biodiversity to some degree and will experience risks and/or opportunities associated with these relationships. Natural capital is another term for the stock of renewable and non-renewable resources, such as plants, animals, air, water, soil and minerals, which combine to yield a flow of benefits to people. The benefits provided by natural capital and biodiversity – healthy functioning ecosystem services - include clean air, food, water, energy, shelter, medicine, and the raw materials used to create products. They also provide less obvious benefits such as flood defence, climate regulation, pollination and recreation. Natural capital and biodiversity support all other capitals by providing essential resources, which support a healthy planet and underpin thriving societies and prosperous economies.
These impacts and dependencies create costs and benefits, not only for business, but also for society. While impacts are more commonly measured, many businesses now recognise their dependencies, such as the need for water in production processes. Understanding these connections and the associated risks and opportunities is vital to help inform better, more timely decision-making.
2) How does EBAE address this link?
Well, the EBAE seems to be moving in the right direction, the 2016 edition included a specific mention of biodiversity in the award criteria for all categories – which is good! And the Biodiversity Award winners truly deserved the award for their long-standing efforts to address biodiversity issues. However, I also see room for further improvement. As a jury member jury I recall a number of entries, which either did not consider biodiversity at all, or not as the key element of environmental performance vital for a business applying to win an environmental award. Therefore I personally hope the next revision of the EBAE award criteria will allow for a further strengthening, and even better mainstreaming, of biodiversity as an important issue for all the business awards.
3) Can you give some feedback on the Annual conference EU B&B platform?
With more than 120 businesses, public institutions and NGOs from twelve countries attending, the event on 23 November 2016 in The Hague was a resounding success. The Annual Conference of the EU B@B Platform launched an EU Community of Practice Finance@Biodiversity and highlighted the crucial role of the private sector to preserve biodiversity. The Conference highlighted the natural capital protocol as the way forward, and looked at future challenges that the Platform could help to tackle in cooperation with businesses. We aim to complement other national and international platforms like the Natural Capital Coalition and welcome more businesses with experience or interest in integrating natural capital into their decision making to join.
National Awards Ceremony: United Kingdom (Monday 6th February)
Since the Awards were established, the UK has consistently shown its commitment to EBAE by selecting only the best innovative companies in the country. The robust selection process, the high quality of entries and active contribution to the process, show how much the UK values the EBAE and its participation to the awards.
UK Entrants for Europe are selected from the winners and runners up of RSA Accredited award schemes. RSA Accreditation is only achieved by a selected number of environmental and sustainable development award schemes, who demonstrate the high standards expected by the RSA’s Environment Awards Forum. This guarantees that entrants chosen for Europe are ‘the best of the best’; the most far-sighted, responsible and innovative companies from across the country.
Dr Malcolm Aickin, Chair of the RSA Environment Awards Forum commented on the high calibre of entries for 2016. “This year the entrants represent a very broad range of activity and diversity of achievement. It is really difficult to choose between them, but fortunately the UK’s robust and meaningful selection process ensures that only the most innovative and sustainable products, processes and management systems are selected from the many hundreds of winners of environment awards across the country. It is particularly noteworthy that this year we have strong entries for Business and Biodiversity drawn from across three of the main categories for the awards.”
The outstanding 10 companies representing the UK at the European Business Awards for the Environment are:
Anglesey Sea Salt
New premises, ‘Saltecote’, has sustainability and environmental considerations at the core of the project.
CMS Window Systems
Sustainability has underpinned the company since its inception in 2006. Today, CMS Window System is one of the largest UK companies designing, manufacturing and installing PVCu, aluminium and timber composite winders, doors and curtain walling. The company created a hub at their head office to encourage greater uptake of sustainable products.
Four years ago bought a traditional B&B with the aim of transforming it into the best and greenest small hostel in Scotland. Jessie Macs used the Green Tourism Business Scheme as micro EMAS and have exceeded all targets.
Product & Service Award:
Bridge Biotechnology manufactures low carbon disinfection and ion removal technologies that are used in a range of industries. ESOL technology allows customers to produce a scientifically proven low chlorine disinfectant solution using minimal salt, water and electricity.
Founded in 2003, Cafeology supplies beverages and equipment to the UK and Europe. The Bird Friendly coffee project is the company’s most recent innovation underpinned by its sustainability principles and aims to reduce impact of coffee production on deforestation and biodiversity.
LINPAC is an international market leader in the manufacture of primary fresh food packaging. ‘Rfresh Elite’ was developed as the ultimate solution for meat, poultry and fish packers in search of a sustainable tray packaging option. Now more than 100 million trays are sold.
Todd Fish Tech
Created the Lobster Pod, an innovative live shellfish storage and transportation system. The system is scientifically proven to increase survival rates to over 99%, saving over £12,000 in every lorry load of shellfish.
Recognised as one of the most innovative renewables companies in the UK, Celtic Renewables adapts an Acetone-Butanol-Ethanol (ABE) fermentation process to produce advanced biofuel. Being applied at a whisky production centre, waste is used to produce energy.
Clearfleau developed an on-site anaerobic digestion technology suited to deployment on a wide range of industrial sites, generating renewable energy from food and beverage processing residues.
Created in 2014 in response to issues of discharging potato peel and starch waste products, Peeltech is a system that requires no electricity and operates using only water and gravity allowing the capture of micro peel and starch that is then use in recycling or animal feed.
The RSA Environment Awards Forum is funded by DFRA and administered by IMS Consulting (Europe) Ltd. For more information please contact the RSA Secretariat via firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
tel:+44 (0) 117 325 0612
Where Are They Now: CMS Window Systems (EBAE 2016-17 Winner) (Monday 30th January)
CMS Window Systems won the 2016-17 Management (medium and large entities) Award for their CMS Innovation Hub. Based in Scotland, CMS Window Systems is one of the UK’s largest companies designing, manufacturing and installing PVCu, aluminium and timber composite windows, doors and curtain walling systems. Since its inception in 2006, environmental, social and economic sustainability has underpinned its success.
“Winning the management category for medium and large companies at the 2016 EBAE Awards was not only a great honour but also reinforced the message to the business community across Europe that successful competitive organisations of the future will be those which, like CMS, use natural resources wisely, minimise environmental impact, value employees and build partnerships within the communities in which they operate. It has also given CMS publicity on a European stage, which has in turn exposed the organisation to potential supply chain opportunities for consideration in the future.
“A fundamental element of CMS’s sustainable business operation is the company’s Innovation Hub, which was created to showcase some of the most advanced and sustainable building envelope products available to the UK building industry. Before its renovation the Innovation Hub was an old derelict warehouse, ready for demolition with an EPC rating of ‘G’. After retrofitting CMS’s building envelope improvement solutions, the Hub is now ‘A’ rated for energy efficiency and is a working model of what can be achieved by refurbishing even the most dilapidated of buildings and avoiding filling landfill sites with demolition waste. The Innovation Hub is also a forum for wider industry debate and as such will be hosting ‘The Future of Retrofit 2017’ conference. The conference will discuss improving the energy efficiency of Scotland’s housing stock and bring together Government and industry stakeholders to discuss the strategy for delivery of this essential requirement.
“Glass waste from manufacturing and recycling is returned directly by CMS to its glass supplier, Saint-Gobain, to be reintroduced into the manufacturing cycle. The core PVCu window product manufactured by CMS currently contains 38% recycled glass and the company is currently working on raising this percentage to its ambitious target of 50% by the end of 2017.
“CMS’s most recent innovation, the CMS Silent-Therm window, is the country’s first Quiet Mark approved acoustic PVCu window. “A” rated for energy performance it is able to reduce sound travel into a room by 5db, whilst at the same time optimising heat insulation and solar gain. Its development marks a step change in how noise issues for homeowners and tenants can be tackled effectively through window and door design, manufacture and installation. It significantly outperforms a standard window in terms of its ability to reduce external sounds, such as traffic and barking dogs, and offers huge potential to the millions of people who suffer the devastating effects of unwanted noise, especially at night: research shows that people whose sleep is disturbed by noise are at greater risk of developing a variety of serious health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, strokes and depression.”
For more information, visit CMS Window Systems
Catch-Up with an EBAE National Coordinator: Mr Rifat Unal Sayman, Turkey (Monday 16th January)
We caught up with Rifat Unal Sayman, Turkish National Coordinator to find out how the national Finalists for the European Business Awards for the Environment are selected in Turkey.
How does your competition work?
The Turkish national competition is held biannually. As national coordinator, REC Turkey first receives applications in November. Every year around 30 companies submit the nominations to the award programme, in particular distinguished big corporations. Next, an independent jury – including representatives from governmental institutions, business associations, academia, NGOs and media – screen the Finalists. National finalists and winners are determined with a two-round selection process, which includes interviews with shortlisted candidates between January and March of the following year. Finally, national winners are announced at the award ceremony, which takes place in June. National finalists identified to compete in the European Programme are supported by the national coordinator throughout the EBAE submission process.
Who attends the awards ceremony?
The national award ceremony is very prestigious and includes participation by high-level officials. The Minister of Environment and Urbanization, the Minister of European Union Affairs and the President of Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB) have been guests of honour for several award ceremonies over the years. Around 200 representatives from finalist companies, governmental institutions, academia, NGOs, foreign missions and international organizations attend the ceremony. As a general rule, awards are presented to the high-level executives of the companies such as the Board of Directors, CEO, Founder or General Manager.
What are your recommendations for business wanting to apply?
Unique improvement in the product, service, process or management of the company for the welfare of society, environment and financial performance is crucial. We always promote businesses who have potential to innovate at least across the EU, if not internationally.
For the management category in particular, we advise companies to develop a track record showing that they put sustainability in their business culture
And finally, what difference do you think it makes to win a European Business Award for the Environment?
First of all, EBAE serves as an international “Eco-label” by definition. Therefore, this makes the award different from its national equivalents. Companies see this prestigious European award as a priceless opportunity to boost their business, especially in terms of competition and imports.
I would also like to acknowledge the employee aspect in addition to the company aspect. My observation is that EBAE is an employee-driven process. The finest applications are usually initiated by young and educated staff working in the field. They are usually looking for innovative and sustainable solutions in their operational fields. Most of the time, it may be a challenge to convince their management of the need for change since it is a risk both for the company and the employee in case of failure. EBAE represents not only a significant status, but also a measurable appreciation for companies’ on-going efforts and new solutions.
To apply or learn more about the Turkish EBAE competition, please contact Mr Rifat Unal Sayman on +90 312 491 95 30 / firstname.lastname@example.org or Mr Onur Akpulat on +90 312 491 95 30 / email@example.com.