About the awards
Winners & Runners-up
Media & promotion
22 companies from nine countries have been shortlisted for the 2018-2019 of the European Business Awards for the Environment, the scheme which rewards those businesses that are making the most outstanding contribution to sustainable development through eco-innovation. In addition, six companies have been identified as “Rising Stars”*.
This is the verdict of the EBAE Jury which met on 28-29 June in Sofia (Bulgaria) with the challenging task of agreeing a shortlist out of 161 applications received from 19 European countries.
The Finalists are up for six awards: Management (micro and small companies), Management (medium and large companies), Product & Services, Process, Developing Country Cooperation and Business & Biodiversity. They all have in common a respect for the environment at the very core of their business principles.
The winners will be announced at the EBAE Awards Ceremony, to be held on 14 November in Vienna (Austria). The event will be part of the “Growth in Transition” conference , one of the flagship events of the Austrian EU Presidency.
Save the date!
* Rising Stars = companies whose applications have made a particular impression on the jurors. This could be in respect of: a company with an innovative and exciting product/service/process/management approach but whose activities are still at an early stage and unproven; or a company that is a pioneer in a national or regional context, but not necessarily at a European level.
Ladybird Farm Leisure Centre (Hungary)
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 LadyBird Farm Leisure Centre, a Hungarian pioneer of sustainable development in the tourism industry – the less carbon footprint left behind by their activities, the better!
Your company was the winner of the Management Award (Micro and Small Entities) category in the 2016-2017 EBAE cycle. Besides the official ceremony in Tallinn last year, did the LadyBird Farm team celebrate locally in any special way?
Of course. The award could not have been won without our committed team of employees. We had a quick celebration after we have arrived home from Tallinn, and then a longer one during our regular Christmas Dinner.
How has your business grown since winning the competition?
After Tallinn, in October 2016, we had set our new goal: to cover all our energy needs from renewable sources. At that time, approximately 70% of our energy needs (including electricity, heating and hot water) came from renewable sources: mainly solar and biomass. In the spring of 2017, we banned gas from our kitchen and purchased state-of-the-art electric kitchen equipment, added 49 kW solar panels and, thus, reached our set objectives. Of course, in a grey autumn day, we cannot produce sufficient electric power from our solar panels, but on a yearly basis we produce a bit more than what we consume. As far as heating and hot water are concerned, we are 100 % self-sufficient; partly due to our “pay with garbage” policy, a great amount of paper is reused.
Can you give us three expressions which describe your EBAE experience?
“Inspiring”, “stretch further” and “yes, it is possible”.
The LadyBird Farm only uses energy coming from renewable sources, and has a self-imposed target of zero emissions by the end of 2018. What extra measures are you taking to achieve this target?
We intend to minimise the carbon footprint for our entire supply chain. There are 4 areas we focus on:
One of the main characteristics of the LadyBird Farm Leisure Center is the possibility of paying part of your stay with waste. What is the most peculiar waste item you have ever received as an entrance fee?
The most amazing and somehow touching moment was when a group of children arrived from a school located in a remote region and the teacher said that whole class collected PET and aluminium boxes for over 6 months to decrease the cost of their visit to our leisure centre. In this case, we charged just a minimal amount in cash in appreciation for their attitude.
Citizens, as energy consumers at home and at work, are at the heart of European energy policy. One of the three main goals of the Clean Energy for All Europeans (CEfAE) legislative package is to provide a fair deal for consumers. This is recognition of the increasing influence of consumers as the energy system is decentralised and digitised.
The goal of the CEfAE package is to provide the stable legislate framework needed to facilitate the clean energy transition. It is seen as a significant step towards the creation of the EU’s Energy Union and to enabling the EU to deliver on its Paris Agreement commitment. The package was presented in November 2016 with the aim that the EU will lead the clean energy transition, not just adapt to it.
It is already clear that energy users are increasingly active players in the energy market with more choice of supply, better control of consumption patterns alongside the opportunity to become prosumers, both producing and consuming energy. This change has been made possible through the proliferation of small-scale, decentralised energy generation options. The opportunity to influence will increase further through the digitisation of the energy system. The CEfAE package will include legislation that will accelerate the deployment of smart meters and ensure access to dynamic electricity price contracts. Upon consumer consent, valuable consumer data will be available to market actors who will be able to offer individuals and businesses tailor-made solutions.
In May 2018 the first of the eight CEfAE legislative proposals, the Energy Performance in Buildings Directive, was adopted. Members States now have 20 months to transpose new measures to accelerate the rate of renovation for improved energy efficiency and to increase the energy performance of new buildings. This has been followed in June 2018 by political agreements on a binding renewable energy target for the EU for 2030 of 32%, on an energy efficiency target for the EU for 2030 of 32.5% and on the governance of the Energy Union.
It is hoped that the full package will be adopted by the end of 2019. You can track progress and find out more here.
We caught up with Ignacio Torres Ruiz-Huerta, from Fundación Biodiversidad, EBAE’s Spanish National Coordinator, to gather some insights on how the European Business Awards for the Environment are impacting eco-innovative companies in Spain.
Spain just had its national awards ceremony (Premios Europeos de Medio Ambiente a la Empresa), where the King of Spain was present. Could you share your impressions of this year’s ceremony?
The ceremony was a success in all regards. The presence of the King ensured great media coverage and a really high profile for an environmental award. Companies were thrilled to have this relevant recognition and support. This was a very special boost for their endeavours to raise the standard of their environmental performance, and gives them an extra motivation to go forward. From our side, it helps us to showcase how the green economy can be profitable as well as the right way to go.
The winners from the Spanish national competition will now access the EBAE competition at European level – in your opinion, what are these companies’ strongest points and how can they stand out in the European level competition?
The companies now moving forward to the European awards have very relevant contributions. For instance, there is a significant share of solutions applied to the circular economy, some of them with relevant innovations in the field of plastics (bioplastics made out of collagen, reparation of hard plastics with guarantees of safe use), batteries (prolonging end-use and enhancing recycling) or food (valorisation of sub-products for animal feed and other uses). Furthermore, several projects have a big impact as they affect the operations of companies with an important presence in the territory, showing that No Net Loss is possible when properly addressing the natural capital.
Spain has been in the spotlight when it comes to renewable energy. How can renewable energies help towards biodiversity preservation?
Spain can strongly benefit from renewable energies and the future looks promising. In terms of biodiversity conservation, the energy sector (renewable or otherwise) will always need to find better and more sustainable ways to generate and distribute energy. In this regard, for instance, energy companies of the Spanish Business and Biodiversity Initiative are investing in innovations which foster business and biodiversity compatibility. The Spanish EBAE scheme has also included some very good examples of what companies can in terms of specific consideration of biodiversity issues, or of consideration of ecosystem services as a planning mechanism.
Symphony is EBAE’s newest promoter, and we are delighted to have you on board. Could you tell our readers the reasons for actively supporting the EBAE award scheme?
Caring for the environment is not just for governments and NGOs, businesses also have a part to play. Symphony’s scientists have found a way to make plastic so that it will be just as good, and no more expensive than ordinary plastic, but it will rapidly biodegrade if it gets into the open environment. The technology is called d2w.
Could you tell us a bit more about Symphony’s mission and main activities?
Symphony’s mission is to make plastics smarter so, in addition to plastics which biodegrade, we have a range of protective technologies which include antimicrobial gloves and water pipes plus, anti-fouling, fire-retardant, insecticidal plastics and a range of technologies suitable for food packaging.
Complete this sentence:
To truly become an eco-innovation champion, businesses must … understand the importance of protecting the environment for future generations. They must also have the necessary skills and make the investment to develop the right technologies.
For further information: www.d2w.net
(20-21 September 2018, Vienna, Austria)
Jointly organised by DG Environment and the Austrian Presidency of the EU, the edition of 5th European Water Conference will present and discuss progress in the implementation of EU water legislation. The event will bring together more than 400 economic, social and environmental stakeholders, national representatives and EU institution officials.
(3-5 October, Thessaloniki, Greece)
Funded by the Greek government, the “Circular Economy in Smart Cities” ECOCITY Forum will foster an exchange of views on the role of the circular economy in building the cities of the future. The event is aimed at business representatives, NGOs, public authorities and academics across Europe.
(3-5 October, Graz, Austria)
The International Sustainable Energy Conference is a platform for knowledge exchange between researchers and companies, and to promote innovative ideas in the fields of energy systems and resource efficiency.
(20-24 October, Brussels, Belgium)
The third Energy Storage Global Conference will gather worldwide industry representatives, researchers and policymakers to discuss challenges, opportunities and the latest technological developments in the energy storage sector. The event is organised by European Association for Storage of Energy, and co-organised by DG Energy and the Joint Research Centre.