The European Green Deal and how it affects your business.
Why an EU Green Deal?
Extreme weather events seem to become more and more the rule than the exception. The abstract threat of climate change is being heard and seen more and more often – and closer to home. It is also becoming more and more real. Floods, forest fires, drought. For a long time, these kinds of phenomena were reserved for distant countries, but we, Limburgers, Dutch, Europeans, are increasingly confronted with the capricious change in nature.
Despite the fact that Mark Rutte – unlike his German and Belgian colleagues – does not want to make hard statements about the link between climate change and the recent floods, the European Commission has presented an ambitious roadmap for its climate policy. This Green Deal, aimed at 2030 (‘Fit For 55’) and 2050, considers how Europe can become climate neutral.
This roadmap calls for a number of changes in our thinking, including;
Our view on raw materials. The forecasts show that global consumption of materials such as biomass, fossil fuels, metals and minerals will double in the next 40 years. In addition, annual waste production is expected to increase by 70% by 2050. In short, the linear thinking about raw materials will therefore have to change. The forecasts show that global consumption of materials such as biomass, fossil fuels, metals and minerals will double in the next 40 years. In addition, annual waste production is expected to increase by 70% by 2050. In short, the linear thinking about raw materials will therefore have to change.
Long term thinking. Climate change requires long-term solutions. Because climate change is a long-term and complex challenge, thinking in short-term solutions is not enough. Measures that are now implemented will only take effect after a number of generations.
What does the EU green deal say?
Because this change in thinking does not happen by itself, the European Commission has created the Green Deal. The Green Deal outlines a roadmap to make the EU economy more sustainable by turning climate and environmental challenges into opportunities in different policy areas. One of the goals of the Green Deal, for sustainable production, is to stimulate the efficient use of raw materials and materials by switching to a clean and circular economy.
To achieve this, enormous efforts are made to make products more sustainable by looking at the supply chains from which the raw materials for these products come. The Circular Economy Action Plan focuses specifically on this product sustainability and includes initiatives to, for example, extend the life of products in order to reduce the pressure of the increasing demand for raw materials. As part of this plan, there is the Sustainable Products Policy, which should regulate the improvement of products, such as stimulating reuse, reparability and the use of recycled material.
With the Sustainable Products Policy plan, the EU aims to identify appropriate options to regulate the following:
- Improving the durability, reusability, upgradeability and reparability of products, addressing the presence of hazardous chemicals in products and increasing their energy and resource efficiency;
- Increasing the amount of recycled material in products;
- Stimulating refurbishing and high-value recycling;
- Reducing the environmental footprint;
- Limiting single use and combating premature aging;
- Encouraging product-as-a-service or other models where manufacturers retain ownership of the product or responsibility for its performance throughout its lifecycle;
- Reward products based on their different sustainability performance, including by linking high performance levels to incentives.
THE NUMBERS TELL THE TALE
The Green Deal also proposes to substantiate sustainability claims made by companies by actually calculating the environmental footprint of their products, but also their organization. Within the Green Deal, the EU has set up a tool to stimulate sustainable financing. This tool is an aid in the transition to sustainable business operations.
With the tool, the EU therefore wants to encourage companies, project developers and authorities to identify and improve their environmental performance. This means that companies have to map where they currently stand – looking at their environmental performance – in order to be eligible for sustainable investments. One method of doing this is Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). Earlier we wrote a blog about why an LCA is important. The EU Green Deal indicates that it is time for entrepreneurs to take action!
With our services we support entrepreneurs in making an impact. We offer various separate services, or combine them with you into a ROADMAP2030 towards climate neutral by 2030.