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We are delighted to launch the 10th cycle of the European Business Awards for the Environment (EBAE)!
Once more, the European Commission will reward European companies of all sizes who have made an outstanding contribution to sustainable development.
The competition will include four award categories:
In addition, there will be an award for Business & Biodiversity.
The winners will be announced during a high-level Awards Ceremony in the Autumn of 2018.
As with previous years, companies wishing to enter the European competition should take part in (and possibly win!) their national competitions. A network of enthusiastic National Coordinators is active in EU Member States to provide further information and guide businesses through the application process.
The UN Climate Change Policy Conference which took place in Bonn (Germany) from 6-17 November saw the EU renew its commitments to the 2030 Emission Goals. While some EU countries are at risk of missing the environmental targets set for 2020, members states are keen to implement new legislation which will help get their goals back on track for the subsequent decade.
Speaking at the end of the event, EU Commissioner for Climate Change, Miguel Arias Cañete, highlighted the commitment to the Paris Agreement, sustainable development and the fight against climate change as priorities for the European Union. “The spirit of Paris is very much alive. We achieved progress in Bonn on the issues that were important to the EU, such as the Paris Work Program. But we must continue to build on this momentum in the coming months, because there is still a lot of work ahead of us before we meet in Katowice next year. The main objective must be to keep the world firmly on the path towards what was agreed two years ago in Paris."
The EU delegation was a key negotiator during the Climate Change Policy Conference – which was chaired by the Fiji Islands – in areas such as ratification instruments of the Doha Agreement and the Paris Agreement’s implementation programme. The next UN climate conference (COP24) will take place in Katowice, Poland, in December 2018.
To know more about the UN Climate Change Policy Conference, please visit the official website.
The third CITIES Forum took place on 27 and 28 November in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The event was organised by the European Commission with the purpose to take stock of progress made on the implementation of the Urban Agenda for the European Union.
Environmental issues, especially the circular economy, featured strongly in the programme. Cities are more and more active in addressing environmental challenges as they are determined to improve the quality of life of their citizens – such as the quality of their air, the space available for recreation, the levels of traffic and noise, and the pollution of waterways.
Municipalities are constantly looking for new efficient and affordable products, technologies and services which can improve biodiversity, waste water treatment and urban mobility. When it comes to urban mobility, for instance, there has been an increase of eco-friendly initiatives within cities – such as car and bicycle sharing schemes, municipal recharging stations for electric cars, and low-emission, accessible public transport. Other eco-innovative practices which are becoming normalised include green public procurement, as well as taking environmental and sustainability issues into consideration when selecting works, products and services providers.
More information on the event can be found on the CITIES Forum 2017 official website.
The need for a multisectoral and inclusive approach when tackling air pollution was the dominant topic at the first Clean Air Forum, which took place in Paris on 16-17 November. Gathering more than 300 participants from all industrial and societal sectors, the event discussed issues such as urban air quality, air pollution in the agricultural sector, and business opportunities on clean air.
Featuring speeches from EU Commissioners Karmenu Vella and Pierre Moscovici, Executive Director of the European Environmental Agency Hans Bruyninckx, and the Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo, the event also hosted the launch of the European Air Quality Index. Developed by the European Environmental Agency, the new tool will allow users to scan their area’s air quality in real time and compare it with the values registered in other European regions, cities or countries.
Furthermore, the Forum took stock of the latest developments in low-carbon emission mobility, as well as the importance of the Energy Union and the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) as key policies towards cleaner air. The European Commission is now performing a Fitness Check evaluation on the Ambient Air Quality Directives as part of its efforts to increase the effectiveness of implemented policies.
More information on the first Clean Air Forum can be found on the official website.
In every issue, the EBAE newsletter catches up with former participants who have distinguished themselves in their field of expertise and have expanded their business and recognition thanks to the competition. This time, we sat down with UPMADE – formerly AUS Design OU – an Estonian company seeking to revolutionise the fashion industry from within by incorporating textile leftovers in their design creations.
1 – Your company was a runner-up in the ‘International Business Cooperation’ category during the 2014-15 EBAE cycle. How has your business progressed since then?
We have managed to grow our business significantly. The method we use has been put to a wider test and we can say now there are no obstacles to scale up the solution of industrial upcycling. We are a company using textile leftovers that are left behind by somebody else – usually international fashion brands. We have succeeded, and our Up-shirt is an international bestseller. People are really embracing the idea of becoming a part of the solution and helping to clean up with easy actions such as purchasing their everyday-t-shirt. It is something tangible, you can actually feel the positive impact you have created as a consumer who has made a conscious choice. But our long-term goal is to get the big corporations to use their own leftovers and clean up after their production.
2 – How did your participation on EBAE help your company get to this stage?
The attention and feedback we received sparked a lot of enthusiasm among our team. It is inspiring to be noticed; and, of course, meeting like-minded people, and sharing your values and aspirations will give you a boost, too. Business-wise, such recognition has served as a sort of quality-stamp and assurance, as in “these guys are actually doing the right thing and it’s worth it to check them out”.
3 –Give us three words which describe your EBAE experience.
Exciting. Inspiring. Educating.
4 –What advice would you give to prospective and future EBAE participants?
As we are a small company as well, it is often the idea and potential that is more important than the relative turnover or revenues. Don’t feel humble or humiliated when submitting an idea that might currently be classified as a small business – even giants have started somewhere and one day you will be bigger than them.
5 – Your company operates in the fashion and clothing sector. If you could choose a famous European to wear your clothes, who would it be and why?
Jamie Oliver. We share the dream of educated consumers who fully understand the impact of their choices and the power they hold to drive change for good – the dream of people acknowledging that every purchase they make, and every Euro they spend, can make a difference. It can be either damaging or helpful - not only to their own health, but also to the health of the Planet.
In search of innovation towards clean air
The next edition of the “European Forum on Eco-innovation” will take place in Sofia (Bulgaria) on 5-6 February 2018. The event will examine and discuss eco-innovative solutions which seek to improve air quality. The Forum will bring together companies and public authorities with documented best practices on developing and implementing effective innovative technologies, business and governance models, and third parties in need of such solutions and expertise.
Air quality is a major European environmental and health challenge. Poor air quality remains the number one environmental cause of premature deaths in the European Union; furthermore, the economic costs of air pollution amount to well over €20 billion a year. As such, new, innovative solutions to reduce air pollution are widely sought across European cities and countries. Companies which excel at developing and marketing advanced technologies for household heating, strategic urban mobility approaches, or pioneer ways to reduce agricultural pollution, can greatly benefit from emerging business opportunities.
The Forum will particularly address air pollution generated by the energy, transport and agriculture sectors. Likewise, it will include in-depth discussions on funding for eco-innovative solutions.
The event will be jointly organised by the European Commission and the Ministry of Environment and Water of the Republic of Bulgaria, under the auspices of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union (taking office on 1 January 2018).
The organisers are currently looking for participants wishing to present case studies on their products, technologies, and services, as well as business and governance models, in this area. For more information, to register for this event, please visit the Forum’s official website or contact the EcoAP Secretariat (firstname.lastname@example.org | +32 2 340 30 64) .
We caught up with Ágnes Czibók, EBAE’s Hungarian National Coordinator, to gather some insights on how the European Business Awards for the Environment are impacting eco-innovative companies in Hungary.
You’ve hosted EBAE’s Steering Committee meeting in Budapest (November). What were your impressions from those two days?
I was very pleased to receive the Steering Committee’s visit again. The gathering was fruitful as usual and, as we had previously suggested, a one-day meeting was necessary to address key EBAE topics before we could launch a new cycle. The more interactive part of the meeting, which took place in the afternoon, was also useful and I was also very happy to have Ms. Màrta Bonifert, an experienced jury member, with us – Màrta shared extremely useful advice on how to improve the entries. The accompanying programmes – the dinner and visit to the ÖKOINDUSTRIA trade fair – met everyone’s expectations.
You’ve been EBAE’s Hungarian National Coordinator for 15 years now. How would you describe EBAE’s impact on, and support of, Hungarian sustainable businesses since the start of your tenure?
As Hungarian EBAE entries experience more success, the initiative is becoming more attractive among companies which follow sustainability-related news closely. Especially after last year’s success – the Hungarian Ladybird Farm won one of the two EBAE Management Awards– the news spread quickly and Hungarian applicants became increasingly interested in applying for EBAE. The PR efforts from the European Commission not only support the popularity and visibility of the company involved, but also the country’s.
What advice would you give to European companies thinking about entering the competition?
I think it is worth the effort to prepare a clear, focused and short entry for the European competition. Good ideas and successful, sustainable projects could gain visibility by landing high ranking places throughout the competition.
Jointly organised by DG Environment, DG Research & Innovation and EASME, the “Horizon 2020 Opportunities for the B@B Community” webinar will provide information on the calls for proposal under “Societal Challenge on Climate change, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials are”. Participants will also be mentored on how businesses should approach a H2020 proposal. More info>>
A joint initiative of the European Commission, the Bulgarian Ministry of Environment and Water, and the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the Forum will bring together companies, public authorities and other stakeholders for best practices- and knowledge-sharing on eco-innovative technologies, policies, business and governance models. More info>>
This two-day event will bring companies, public bodies and European institutions together, and host panel discussions, case studies, roundtable discussions, presentations and workshops on how to increase eco-innovative and sustainable procurement procedures and decisions. More info>>
Gathering companies, public bodies and European institutions, this two-day event will host panel discussions, case studies presentations and workshops on how to increase eco-innovative and sustainable procurement procedures and decisions. More info>>