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Newsletter February 2019


Celebrating the winners of today and seeking those of tomorrow

Three months have elapsed since the serven winners of the European Business Awards for the Environment were announced in Vienna, Austria and the companies are currently reaping the prestige and visibility benefits of their victory.

While Dutch company Eosta received the visit of Queen Máxima of The Netherlands (see article Where Are They Now, below), Austrian company ecop Technologies featured in a Business Planet episode of the prestigious broadcasting channel Euronews. Companies are making the most of their EBAE experience!

But while on the European level the focus is still on celebrations, in some countries attention has already turned towards the next cycle of the competition. If you are considering applying for EBAE 2020 then be sure not to miss your country’s national deadline. Competitions which have already published their closing dates are given below. Watch the EBAE website to find out about more national dates in the coming weeks. Then get in touch with your National Coordinator as soon as possible and don’t hesitate to contact the EBAE Secretariat for more information.


Interview with Eosta

Dutch company Eosta won the Developing Country Cooperation Award in November 2018 for their "True Cost of Food” campaign, which calculates and communicates the hidden costs of the food system. This is the story, told by Michaël Wilde, Eosta’s Sustainability & Communications Manager, of how winning the EBAE award has impacted on their business.

1. EOSTA has been a winner of the prestigious “Sustainability Prize of the King William 1 Foundation” in The Netherlands, and then won the Developing Country Cooperation Award during the November 2018 EBAE Ceremony: can you tell us a bit more about the characteristics that make your company such a successful eco-innovative business?

Her Majesty Queen Máxima paying a working visit to Eosta in Waddinxveen, the Netherlands, on Tuesday 4 December 2018

The most important aspect is that instead of just talking about sustainability we put it into action. The pioneering work we are doing in the field of plastic-free packaging, greater transparency, proactive healthcare, true cost accounting, living wage, sustainable development goals is being noticed and has resulted in some prestigious awards. We see this not only as a great compliment for the whole Eosta team as well as our growers but also as a motivation to continue to go down this road.

2. With which Developing Countries do you work, and what are your takeaways from this cooperation?

We work with many developing countries in south and central America (Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Argentina, Costa Rica, Brazil, Chile) as well as Africa (Burkina, Kenya, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Uganda, Ghana). Our takeaway is that our cooperation is always based upon the long term. Sustainable partnerships are based upon the principles that everyone wins. When this happens you have a long-term strong relationship that is beneficial for the whole supply chain including social and environmental aspects.

3. What advice would you give to other European companies wishing to enter the European Business Awards for the Environment? How can they benefit from it?

This prestigious award not only creates a lot of positive and strong publicity, it is an ideal opportunity to meet other pioneers in the field of sustainability. Only through collaboration will we be able to overcome the immense challenges we are facing

4.Complete this sentence: “To truly become an eco -innovation champion, businesses must...” fully transparent about what they do. There is no sustainability without transparency. Furthermore, a business must focus on its true value...a profit that includes your impact on the environment and mankind.

Further information on Eosta and its work can be found here:


Establishing circularity in textiles is gaining momentum

Well-established evidence suggests that the textile industry in Europe has a high environmental footprint. It is a large economic sector, with an annual turnover of 181 billion Euros, which puts great pressure on the use of resources (water, energy and raw materials) with negative consequences for the environment. The industry has started to change. Many companies are transforming themselves through designing/thinking their products, production methods, business models and end-of-life practices to better deal with environmental and social challenges. However, the change is uneven across companies, geographic locations and sub-sectors, and the potential for new opportunities remains large.

Existing European and domestic policies on the circular economy and innovation have already started to address the transition in a series of sectors. Governments, together with the European institutions need to continue their drive in the coming years and focus on barriers that are specific to the textile sector. Accompanying the textiles industry in the transformation would bring huge sustain ability benefits while making significant positive economic contributions as well.

The European Business Awards for the Environment too have a track record of rewarding textile companies operating in a sustainable way; the most recent example is UPMADE–formerly AUS Design OU–an Estonian company seeking to revolutionise the fashion industry from within by incorporating textile leftovers in their design creations.

The 22nd European Forum on Eco-innovation will be held in Vienna, Austria, on 7-8 May, 2019. The Forum will explore eco-innovation solutions and policies for improving circularity in the textiles sector. It will bring together companies, public authorities, financiers, NGOs, innovators and researchers that are working on developing and deploying effective new technologies, innovative business and governance models, and policies that can deliver a circular textiles economy.

The next edition of the EU ECOAP newsletter will also focus on eco-innovation in textiles.


Greece in spotlight

Greece recently held the local Ceremony for the European Business Awards for the Environment. We are delighted to catch up with Antonis Papadakis, EBAE coordinator for Greece.

1. The Awards Ceremony of the Greek Business Awards for the Environment was held in October 2018. Can you tell us a bit more about it? Who attended it and who were the winners?

On 24 October 2018, PASEPPE, the Panhellenic Association of Environmental Protection Enterprises rewarded 12 Greek companies that excelled during the last two years in innovation technology, sustainable development, environmental protection and circular economy.

The Minister of Environment, Mr. Socrates Famellos, the Deputy Minister of Interior, Mrs. Marina Chrysovelloni and a number of MPs, Regional Governors, Mayors and Presidents of organisations and institutions attended the ceremony. The European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Mr. Karmenu Vella also contributed with a short but very substantial video.

The next edition of the Greek competition will be announced in October 2019. By the end of February/mid March 2020 the Greek finalists will be announced. The next award ceremony will take place between June and October 2020.

2. KLIMIS and SKAI were also shortlisted for the European award. What do you think was the added value for them to be part of a wider European competition?

The 2018 Greek Ceremony of the European Business Awards for the Environment

Indeed, out of the 12 Greek winners, KLIMIS and SKAI were shortlisted for the EBAE Vienna ceremony on 14 November 2018.

KLIMIS is a company which exports in many European countries. Recently, they were also given a European EMAS award. Therefore, I believe that the EBAE award added a significant value for them.

SKAI, a well-known media group, very proudly produced a video when their EBAE nomination was announced. The EBAE Jury praised SKAI’s efforts to plant thousands of hectares of trees and to promote the cleaning up of the environment.

3. In general, what are your recommendations for businesses wanting to apply for this prize?

Every business working in the field of the protection of the environment should apply for the European Business Awards for the Environment, because these are the most prestigious and important environmental awards in Europe, under the authority of the European Commission.


Report on the Circular Economy

EUROCHAMBRES, the Association of European Chambers of Commerce and Industry, is a long-standing promoter of the European Business Awards for the Environment, as they recognise the business community’s crucial role in tackling the environmental challenges o f our time. In this spirit, they launched an analysis of the Circular Economy in Europe.

As EUROCHAMBRES we are aware that business plays, and will further play, a crucial role to tackle some of the most challenging problems of our society, such as the depletion of resources, climate change and, overall, the possible collapse of ecosystem services. It is now a question on how to implement the best possible measures for circular and sustainable models, while guaranteeing the least po ssible negative impacts on SMEs, the social and economic tissue of our society. The Report on the Circular Economy produced by EUROCHAMBRES and published in January 2019, paves the way to a deep and long - term discussion and action on the essential concept that is the Circular Economy, and wants to represent a first step for the Organization and its constituents to look at the sustainability challenges arising no more in a detached, individual perspective, but as a single uni ted entity capable of delivering strong consolidated responses and commitments. We therefore conducted the Report, a comprehensive quantitative - qualitative meta - analysis on the effects and necessary pathways for the transition on 9 main industrial sectors, namely: Construction, Mobility, Fashion, Agriculture, Plastics, Food & Beverage , Metals, Hotel & Food Services, Electronics. In addition to the literature analysis, we presented a case study for each sector, showcasing examples of very innovative start-ups, as well as large companies alre ady involved in the transition.

  • For metal manufacturers , resource efficiency measures amounting to € billion 570 are expected to lead to overall annual benefits of € billion 44 - 82 for the industry in the EU-27 Member States and average annual economic benefits of € 164,000 per company.
  • In the food and drink manufacturing sector, € billion 760 investment costs would be needed to increase resource efficiency, and are estimated to bring € billion 64 – 118 in annual gross benefits for the sector in the EU. This would translate into € 424,000 of annual economic benefits per company.
  • The economic potential of a circular model in the agricultural sector is expected to bring benefits amounting to € billion 92 between the period 2016 - 2030, through a € billion 72 investment. The benefits include lower costs i n fertilizer and pesticide inputs, as well as costs for machinery and GHG emissions.
  • In the hospitality and food service sector , the opportunity in achieving high resource efficiency would cost an estimated € billion 100 in total, and offer net benefits o f € 27,500 per company, or 10% of the average turnover. The total annual benefit in the sector would amount to € billion 64-118.
  • For the automotive industry , by 2030 up to € billion 175 in annual societal cost savings (e.g. congestion, increase of urban s paces) can potentially be attained by investing € billion 100 during the period 2016-2025. This would need to see the transportation sector rapidly transitioning toward shared, modular and electric vehicles. The industry’s revenues are expected to grow by 4.4% annually.
  • The construction sector will need remarkable developments in terms of design and production of circular buildings, as well as incrementing its recyclability and reusability potential. In total, in Europe € billion 107 would be needed between 2016-2025 to convert the current syst em into a circular one. This would lead to € billion 150 forecasted in financial benefits by 2030, mainly in cost savings for the sector.
  • In the plastics sector no comprehensive cost-benefit analysis can be found in the literature, but strong evidence was found for economic benefits residing in the concepts of design for reuse and recycling, as well as coastal waste management.
  • The textile sector is not covered by comprehensive cost-benefit analysis for the EU, but in the report main disrupting opportunit ies were depicted to convert the industry from a linear to circular model. These include the introduction and development of more resource efficient fabrics, leasing services, more durable fabrics and clothes, recycling of textile waste or discarded clothi ng, and an improved network for the second - hand market. Globally, overall annual benefits are estimated to amount to € billion 161 - land use externalities excluded - , if the fashion industry addressed its societal and environmental externalities.
  • The electronics industry is still lacking a fully functioning recycling and repairing system, which is a good example for economic inefficiency. For this reason, the revenue potential for Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) recycling in Europe is calculated to become billion € 2.15-3.67 by 2020.

T his being a first exhaustive exercise on the matter from our part, we are now working on our Circular Economy Policy Recommendations paper (expected by mid - March), while presenting our work in numerous even ts, and triggering an internal debate on future initiatives and projects to be offered by the Chambers. The intention being, keeping the momentum of this crucial thematic high and ambitious for the future European agenda, and make Chambers leading actors in the transition.

Further information:
Clemens Rosenmayr
Policy Advisor


TEDxParcDuCinquantenaire - Sustainable Transition

(5 March 2019, Brussels, Belgium)

TEDxParcDuCinquantenaire is a TEDx Event happening on the 5th of March at the Breydel Building in Brussels. A two-hour event, starting at 6:30 pm, with five incredible speakers whose powerful talks and mind-blowing performances explore the theme of ‘Sustainable Transition’.

2019 Circular Economy Stakeholder Conference: Success Stories and New Challenges.

(6-7 March 2019, Brussels, Belgium)

The European Commission and the European Economic and Social Committee will host the 2019 European Circular Economy Stakeholder Conference on March 6 and 7 in Brussels. The 2019 conference will build on the success of the 2 018 event, which was titled Delivering on the Circular Economy – What's next? . It gathered 650 participants on Day 1 and 350 on Day 2. The first day provided an avenue for high - level political discussion, in particular on the implementation of Circular Economy Action Plan, the second day allowed for the gathering of perspectives from civil society organisations present.

Conference “Our Forests, Our Future”

(25-26 April 2019, Brussels)

Forests and other wooded land cover about 40% of the EU territory, and the forest sector provides more than 3.5 million jobs in the European Union. The forest value chains are engines of rural growth and generate other benefits to society, including societal benefits for human health, recreation and tourism. In this context, the Commission is organising a conference to analyse and discuss opportunities and challenges for enhancing the contribution of the forest sector to the main EU priorities. High - level speakers will include Commissioner Hogan (Agriculture & Rural Development), Commissioner Arias Cañete (Climate Action & Energy), Minister Deneş (Romanian Minister for Water and Forests), and high representatives of the private sector, academia, civil society and non - governmental organisations.

EU Green

(WEEK 13-17 May 2019, Brussels, Belgium)

Environmental laws have a huge impact on our life. They improve water and air quality, they protect nature, and they encourage recycling and waste management. But to really make an appreciable difference, these EU laws have to be properly implemented.The next edition of EU Green Week will put this process of environmental implementation into the spotlight. We'll be asking questions like – do these laws really matter, and what the added benefits are for citizens? What does successful implementation look like? Why do "implementation gaps" exist? How can we move from knowing that stakeholders need to take ownership of these laws to actually making it happen? And most importantly, how can the EU facilitate the process, making sure that citizens' voices are heard?EU Green Week 2019 will include events across Europe, with the official opening event on 13 May in one of the Member States and a high - level summit in Brussels from 15 to 17 May. The opening event will have a particular prominence, setting the tone for the Week's debates. The closing of Green Week will take place at the end of the Brussels Conference and will showcase the political conclusions from the Week.