Articles taggés avec ‘Impacts and Indicators’

EU Funding:EU promotes sustainable products and technologies

Mercredi 16 juillet 2008

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Grants for research projects about climate change, pressure from growing human activity and prevention of risks on environment and health
 Grants for the demonstration of innovative technologies to energy efficiency and their introduction to the market for mass deployment.
 Grants for projects that promote various forms of innovation in enterprises and eco-innovation

Improving the environmental performance and in particular the energy efficiency of products and stimulating their market uptake are the core objectives of a package put forward by the European Commission today

It sets out a series of voluntary and obligatory actions to support a coherent and dynamic policy in the EU and internationally, helping to define eco-friendly products, informing the consumer through improved labelling and supporting their purchase through public procurement and fiscal incentives.

The action plan lists the initiatives the Commission will undertake in 3 areas:

1. A new product policy

Energy and resource-efficient consumer products

In the absence of voluntary action, the Ecodesign Directive presently provides a framework for setting compulsory minimum requirements and voluntary benchmarks for energy-using products. All energy-related products – that do not consume energy during use but have an indirect impact on energy consumption – will also be covered in future. This will allow addressing products such as water-using devices and windows. For example, water-saving taps and shower heads reduce water consumption and therefore also the amount of energy used for hot water without altering the user’s perceived well-being.

Mandatory labelling

Mandatory labelling will indicate relevant environmental parameters for a wider range of products, including energy-using and energy-related products.

Incentives and public procurement

The Commission also proposes that only products attaining a certain level of energy or environmental performance – identified by one of the labelling classes – are eligible for incentives and public procurement at national and EU levels. It will be up to Member States whether and in which form to provide incentives. Today incentives are granted for very different levels of environmental performance across the EU, sometimes in regions very near to each other thus limiting economies of scale for better performing products. In addition Member States are recommended to adopt common green procurement practices for goods and services not (yet) covered by the above plan.

Voluntary eco labelling

The EU Ecolabel scheme, which indicates the most environmentally friendly products on the EU market, will be extended to cover a wider range of products and services, such as food and drink products, and made less costly and bureaucratic. These changes will make the scheme more attractive to manufacturers and encourage them to innovate and offer more such products.

Retailers’ responsibility

A Retail Forum will be created, which will also include other stakeholders such as producers and consumers’ organisations. This forum will prepare actions to improve large retailers’ environmental performance, promote the purchase of greener products and better inform consumers.

2. Promoting leaner production

With a view to promoting leaner production, the proposals foresee:

- Developing targets and tools to monitor, benchmark and promote resource efficiency and eco-innovation. An Environmental Technology Verification scheme will be established, to support eco-innovation through increased confidence in new technologies
- Revising EMAS, the EU’s voluntary eco-management and audit scheme, to increase its uptake, notably among SMEs, by making participation less costly and involving organisations outside the EU
- Developing an industrial policy for eco-industries by first analysing the barriers to their expansion and to their full uptake by other sectors
- Promoting environmental performance in small enterprises (SMEs) through customized advice

3. Sustainable consumption and production internationally

In order to promote sustainable products worldwide, the proposals envisage:

- Supporting agreements of industry sectors as part of international climate negotiations
- Promoting and sharing good practice internationally
- Promoting international trade in environmentally friendly goods and services

Examples of gains in efficiency and cost reduction

30% of the energy used in buildings could be saved with positive economic effects in 2030. Better window insulation would contribute to reducing CO2 emissions by more than one fifth, while reducing costs to households. Significant gains are also estimated for water related devices such as baths, showers and taps.

Press room - European Commission

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Eu funding : Agriculture Ministers Discuss Pesticides Regulation and High Food Prices

Mardi 20 mai 2008

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Grants for research projects about climate change, pressure from growing human activity and prevention of risks on environment and health
 Grants for research projects concerning sustainable management, production and use of biological resources, through life sciences and biotechnology

At the meeting of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council, chaired by Slovenian Agriculture Minister Iztok Jarc, EU Ministers discussed the proposal for a Regulation concerning the placing of plant protection products on the market

Mr Jarc gave a report on the progress achieved by the Slovenian Presidency on this dossier, and returned the dossier to the working level. The Ministers also discussed high agricultural product and food prices and the possibility of adopting additional measures to stabilise agricultural markets.

The compromise proposal for a Regulation prepared by the Presidency includes a number of provisions protecting the health of humans, animals and the environment. The Regulation encourages the replacement of the most hazardous plant protection products by safer alternatives; in the event of specific national environmental protection or agro-technological circumstances, Member States will be able to reject the registration of certain products or restrict their use; professional users and producers of plant protection products will be required to keep records of the use of these products; the Regulation will also prevent the duplication of tests on vertebrates.

Mr Jarc also stressed the importance of defining the criteria for the approval of active substances, in which their impact on the long-term food supply in the European Union should be considered.

Due to the fact that the Regulation has been discussed in the Council and in the European Parliament almost two years it is necessary to ensure an early implementation of the reform in the pesticide field. The Presidency will return the dossier for discussion at the Council working level, so that appropriate solutions to unresolved issues may be found.

Debate on high food prices

On the basis of the Presidency report, the Agriculture Ministers discussed the high prices of agricultural products and food. In its discussion paper, the Presidency points to the reasons for the high food prices, such as climatic change, with frequent extreme weather phenomena, the increasing demand for food in developing countries, the growing world population, the production of biofuels and rising energy product prices.

Last year, under the common agricultural policy (CAP), the EU adopted specific short-term measures to reduce prices in the EU, such as increasing the volume of arable land by abolishing mandatory set-aside, increasing milk production quotas for 2008, reducing buffer stocks and export refunds and suspending import duties on almost all cereals.

In the current ‘health check’ of the common agricultural policy, the options being considered are: permanently abolishing the set-aside requirement, gradually abolishing milk quotas by 2015, adjusting market price aid in the cereal sector, and making the transition from support for energy plants to more effective solutions to bolster the bio-energy sector – without, however, adversely impacting on the production of foodstuffs and feedingstuffs – including the production of second-generation biofuels.

Climate change research

At their working lunch, the ministers discussed the contribution of research towards adapting the agricultural sector to climate change. The meeting was also attended by the European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mariann Fischer Boel, and the European Commissioner for Science and Research, Janez Potočnik. The Presidency has drawn up a discussion paper, pointing up questions relating to the need for this kind of research and additional funding, exchanges of experience between Member States and transfers of knowledge to farmers, as well as the suitability of proposed solutions in the context of the review of the common agricultural policy.

EU Slovenian Presidency