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Europe’s crop protection industry makes 2030 Commitments - Pesticide and biopesticide producers come together to make clear commitments to support EU Green Deal

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Europe’s crop protection industry (ECPA) has adopted a set of ambitious commitments to support Europe’s new Green Deal, including an investment of over €14 billion in new technologies and more sustainable products by 2030. In addition to this investment, ECPA also plans to ramp up waste collection and increase the levels of training among farmers in Europe as part of its response to the EU’s Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies.

European Crop Protection Association Director General Géraldine Kutas said: “With its ambitious European Green Deal, the European Commission has fired the starting gun for the EU’s run towards a more sustainable, climate-neutral future.

“We are serious about contributing and aligning with the Green Deal policy initiatives which is why our companies have joined together to set our own voluntary, sector-specific, measurable goals in their support.”

The six commitments adopted by ECPA will guide the sector for the next decade in key areas of agricultural innovative technologies, the circular economy and better protection of people and the environment:

• Innovation & Investment: By supporting innovation and the deployment of digital and precision tools as well as biopesticides, we further the European Commission’s ambition of a digital and green recovery. By 2030 we will be investing €10 billion into innovation in precision and digital technologies and €4bn into innovation in biopesticides. All the investment the industry is committing to is only useful if there is the appropriate regulatory framework allowing the innovation to reach the European farmers.

• Circular Economy: By increasing the collection rate of the empty pesticides plastic containers to 75% and establishing a collection scheme in the EU member states that currently have none by 2025, we will contribute to the EU’s goal of a circular economy that aims at minimizing waste and resources used, lessening the environmental impact of plastic packaging.

• Protecting People & Environment: By training farmers on the implementation of Integrated Pest Management, water protection and the importance of personal protective equipment (PPE), our industry desires to further minimize exposure and reduce the risks of pesticide use, all while contributing to the overall goals of the Sustainable Use Directive and EU Farm to Fork strategies aiming at producing enough food sustainably.

Kutas added: ”We all agree on the direction of travel, what’s important now is making those deliberate steps to reach the end goal. “These commitments will be challenging for our companies to deliver on. However, we are committed to deliver on what we have set out for and call on the European Commission to support sustainable agriculture with appropriate regulatory framework allowing the innovation to reach the farmers.

“This is just the beginning, we will be tracking our industry’s progress over the decade and sharing transparently how far we have come," she concluded.

To learn more about ECPA membership click here. 
To learn more about 2030 Commitments click here.

Environment

Commission launches Green Consumption Pledge, first companies commit to concrete actions towards greater sustainability

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On 25 January, the European Commission launched its new Green Consumption Pledge, the first initiative delivered under the New Consumer Agenda. The Green Consumption Pledge is part of the European Climate Pact which is an EU-wide initiative inviting people, communities and organisations to participate in climate action and build a greener Europe.  With their signatures, companies promise to accelerate their contribution to a green transition. The pledges have been developed in a joint effort between the Commission and companies. Their aim is to accelerate the contribution of businesses to a sustainable economic recovery and to build consumer trust in the environmental performance of companies and products. Colruyt Group, Decathlon, LEGO Group, L'Oréal and Renewd are the first pioneering enterprises that are participating in this pilot project. The functioning of the Green Consumption Pledges will be assessed in a year from now, before next steps are taken.

Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders said: “Empowering consumers to make green choices – that is what we set out to do last autumn, when we published the New Consumer Agenda. For informed choices, consumers need more transparency on the carbon footprint and sustainability of products. This is what today's initiative is about. I therefore warmly welcome the five companies to the Green Pledge and I applaud them on their commitment to go beyond what is required by law. I look forward to working with many more companies, so we can boost further sustainable consumption in the EU.”

The Green Consumption Pledge is based on a set of five core pledges. To join it, companies commit to ambitious actions to improve their environmental impact and to help consumers make more sustainable purchases. They have to take concrete measures in at least three of the five pledge areas and they need to prove their progress with data that they then make public. Each pledging company will work with the Commission in complete transparency to ensure that the progress is reliable and verifiable. The five core pledge areas are the following:

  1. Calculate the carbon footprint of the company, including its supply chain, using the calculation methodology or environmental management scheme developed by the Commission, and establish proper due diligence processes towards achieving footprint reductions in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement.
  2. Calculate the carbon footprint of selected flagship products of the company, using the methodology developed by the Commission, and to achieve certain footprint reductions for the selected products and disclose the progress to the general public.
  3. Increase the sale of sustainable products or services within the total sales of the company or its selected business part.
  4. Commit part of the corporate public relations expenditure to the promotion of sustainable practices in line the Commission's implementation of the European Green Deal policies and actions.
  5. Ensure information provided to consumers in relation to the company and product carbon footprints is easy to access, accurate and clear, and maintain this information up-to-date following any reductions or increases of the footprints.

The Green Consumption Pledge initiative focuses on non-food products and it is complementary to the Code of Conduct that is launched tomorrow, 26 January, as part of the Farm to Fork strategy. The Code of Conduct will bring together stakeholders from the food system to make commitments for responsible business and marketing practices.

Next steps

Any company from the non-food sectors as well as companies in the retail sector selling both food and non-food products interested in joining the Green Pledge can contact the European Commission before the end of March 2021.

This initial pilot phase of the Green Consumption Pledge will be completed by January 2022. Before next steps will be taken, an evaluation of the functioning of the Pledge will be conducted in consultation with the participating companies, relevant consumer organisations and other stakeholders.

Background

The green transition is one of the key priorities of the New Consumer Agenda, aiming to ensure that sustainable products are available to consumers on the EU market and that consumers have better information to be able to make informed choices. Taking into account the key role that industry and trade operators play upstream, it is essential to complement legislative proposals with voluntary, non-regulatory initiatives addressed to pioneers in the industry that are keen to support the green transition. The Green Pledge is one of the non-regulatory initiatives of the New Consumer Agenda.

The Green Consumption Pledge is one of several initiatives the Commission undertakes in order to empower consumers to make more sustainable choices. Another initiative is the legislative proposal on substantiating green claims which the Commission will adopt later in 2021. This initiative will require companies to substantiate claims they make about the environmental footprint of their products and services by using standard methods for quantifying them. The aim is to make the claims reliable, comparable and verifiable across the EU – avoiding ‘greenwashing' (companies giving a false impression of their environmental impact). This should help commercial buyers and investors make more sustainable decisions and increase consumer confidence in green labels and information.

The European Climate Pact, adopted on 9 December 2020, aims to help spread scientifically sound information about climate action and provide practical advice for everyday life choices. It will support local initiatives and encourage climate action pledges by individuals or collectives, helping to mobilize support and participation.

More information

Green Consumption Pledge

Green consumption pledge by Colruyt Group

Green consumption pledge by Decathlon

Green consumption pledge by LEGO Group

Green consumption pledge by L'Oréal

Green consumption pledge by Renewd

Event: Launch of pilot phase of the green pledge initiative

New Consumer Agenda: strengthening consumer resilience for sustainable recovery

Consumer strategy

Farm to Fork strategy

Contact DG Justice and Consumers

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Climate change

ECB sets up climate change centre

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The European Central Bank (ECB) has decided to set up a climate change centre to bring together the work on climate issues in different parts of the bank. This decision reflects the growing importance of climate change for the economy and the ECB’s policy, as well as the need for a more structured approach to strategic planning and co-ordination.The new unit, which will consist of around ten staff working with existing teams across the bank, will report to ECB President Christine Lagarde (pictured), who oversees the ECB’s work on climate change and sustainable finance.“Climate change affects all of our policy areas,” said Lagarde. “The climate change centre provides the structure we need to tackle the issue with the urgency and determination that it deserves.”The climate change centre will shape and steer the ECB’s climate agenda internally and externally, building on the expertise of all teams already working on climate-related topics. Its activities will be organised in workstreams, ranging from monetary policy to prudential functions, and supported by staff that have data and climate change expertise. The climate change centre will start its work in early 2021.

The new structure will be reviewed after three years, as the aim is to ultimately incorporate climate considerations into the routine business of the ECB.

  • The five work streams of the climate change centre focus on: 1) financial stability and prudential policy; 2) macroeconomic analysis and monetary policy; 3) financial market operations and risk; 4) EU policy and financial regulation; and 5) corporate sustainability.

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Environment

UK and France can lead mobilization of tropical forest protection investment

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Lack of adequate finance has long been one of the biggest challenges facing natural climate solutions. Currently, the primary sources of revenue from forests, marine ecosystems, or wetlands come from extraction or destruction. We need to change the underlying economics to make natural ecosystems worth more alive than dead.  If we don’t, the destruction of nature will continue at pace, contributing to irreversible climate change, biodiversity loss and devastating the lives and livelihoods of local and Indigenous people, writes Emergent Executive Director Eron Bloomgarden.

The good news is that 2021 is off to a promising start. Earlier this month at the One Planet Summit, significant financial commitments were made for nature. Chief among these was UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s pledge to spend at least £3 billion of international climate finance on nature and biodiversity over the next five years. Prior to this announcement, 50 countries committed to protect at least 30% of their lands and oceans.

This is welcome news. There is no solution to the climate or biodiversity crises without ending deforestation. Forests make up roughly a third of the potential emissions reductions needed to achieve the targets set in the Paris Agreement. They hold 250 billion tons of carbon, a third of the world’s remaining carbon budget for keeping temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial age. They absorb approximately 30% of global emissions, hold 50% of the world’s remaining terrestrial biodiversity, and support the livelihoods of more than a billion people who depend on them. In other words, ending tropical deforestation (in parallel with decarbonizing the economy) is essential if we are to keep on the pathway to 1.5 degrees and preserve our essential biodiversity.

The question is how to commit this funding in a way that drives toward ending deforestation, for good.

For this, tropical forest protection needs to happen across entire countries or states, working with governments and policymakers, who with the right mix of public and private funding, can commit to reducing deforestation at massive scale.

This isn't a new idea, and it builds on lessons learned over the past two decades. Central among those is that large scale programs will not materialize in the absence of massively increased levels of both public and private support. Even funding support amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars is not always sufficient to give countries confidence that large-scale forest protection programs are worth the up-front investment in monetary and political capital.

The scale of funding needed is far beyond what can realistically be achieved with government-to-government aid flows or conservation funding alone; private sector capital has to be mobilized as well.

The best way to achieve this is by using international markets for carbon credits and capitalizing on the growing demand from the private sector for high-quality, high-impact offsets as they race toward net-zero emissions goals. Under such a system, governments receive payments for the emission reductions they achieve through preventing forest loss and/or degradation.

The key is for donor governments like the UK, France and Canada to help build the infrastructure to value nature properly, including supporting conservation and protection, as well as the establishment and expansion of voluntary and compliance carbon markets that include crediting for forest credits.

On this latter point, following Norway’s lead, they can use part of their pledged funding to establish a floor price for the credits generated by large-scale programs. This approach leaves the door open for private buyers to potentially pay a higher price in light of the soaring demand for such credits, while giving the governments of forest countries peace of mind that there is a guaranteed buyer no matter what happens.

We are at an inflection point where significant new forest protection programs could be mobilized by a quantum increase in public and private finance. Donor governments are in a position now to secure US$ billions in co-funding from a range of private actors in order to support national forest protection programs that generate carbon credits. Channeling additional public and mission-driven funds will catalyze private investment and would be transformative in accelerating the development of this critical market, which would benefit the green recovery, the creditworthiness of forest countries, and the well-being of the planet and humanity.

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