Against the background of the war in Ukraine, the German Environment Agency is making an appeal for more economical energy consumption. It is easy for private households to help in the effort: turn down the thermostat, install a water saving showerhead and drive cars less and at slower speed. All these measures can be realized immediately and cost little to no money. read more
The concept of a green economy is a new paradigm for economic development. It allows for a positive and robust interconnection between ecological and economic factors, and is thus a genuine boon to the well being of society as a whole. Transforming our current economy into a green economy will necessitate across the board ecological modernization of our current business practices, particularly in terms of resource use, emission reduction, product design and value chain transformation. Measures that promote environmental innovation will play a key role here. The UBA is currently elaborating guiding principles and is developing recommendations aimed at promoting this transformation process.
To do this, it is necessary to analyze the myriad interrelationships between the environmental and economic aspects of modern life, and to leverage the latent synergies between environmental protection and economic development. For example, it is essential to analyze environmental economics and emerging eco-markets. German companies are world leaders in these rapidly growing markets, and if they successfully maintain this position the German economy stands to benefit greatly. Environmental protection also creates jobs in fields such as climate and resource protection. Environmental protection cost benefit analyses are another key field of endeavor. This involves, for example, prognosticating the potential benefits of environmental policy measures by virtue of the fact that they help to counter environmental pollution and health hazards. The UBA has developed a methodology for projecting environmental costs and has issued recommendations for best-practice estimates in areas such as greenhouse emissions and air pollution.
Industrial manufacturing is one of the key worldwide sources of emissions that pose a hazard for the environment and human health. Hence the UBA is promoting efforts to optimize current environmental standards. Current international environmental protection agreements aim to promote the harmonization of such standards based on the best available techniques (BATs), with the aim of substantially raising the bar in this domain. Such efforts help to avoid situations where environmental pollution is simply “relocated” to states with relatively lax environmental standards. BATs are enshrined in German law as the gold standard. It is essential that both resource use and emissions be permanently reduced to environmentally sustainable levels in the industrial sector . Key to such efforts is the development of innovative eco-friendly manufacturing processes. Energy and environmental management systems are also one of the main drivers of business process optimization. There is also considerable room for improvement in the areas of industrial-accident prevention and plant safety.
But eco-friendly manufacturing processes aren’t enough, for products themselves need to be safer from both an ecological and health standpoint. Key to accomplishing this are product specific environmental standards, which are instrumental when it comes to keeping products contaminant free. Broad-based enshrining of eco-design criteria in industrial products can help to make them safer from an environmental standpoint and more readily recyclable across their entire lifecycles. Measures such as eco-labels and product energy-consumption information enable consumers to separate the wheat from the chaff in the realm of environmental pollution. UBA consumer advice provides consumers with information on how they can live more eco-friendly lives. But of course eco-friendly procurement is also a key factor when it comes to promoting the use of more eco-friendly products.
Environmental awareness: Great momentum for socio-ecological transformation
People in Germany expect more political action to protect the environment and climate as environmental awareness of the damaging influence of pollution has grown over the past 20 years. These are the findings of a detailed analysis of the Environmental Awareness in Germany 2020 study. read more
Corporate Sustainability Reporting faces major changes
About 500 German undertakings are obliged to include sustainability-related information in their annual reports. According to the plans of the EU Commission more undertakings shall report in the future and apply uniform reporting standards. A study on behalf of UBA recommends precise requirements for reporting on targets, actions and performance indicators and corporate greenhouse gas neutrality. read more
Avoiding pollutants in construction materials
Building materials such as bituminous sheeting, roofing tiles, exterior rendering and plastered facades can release harmful substances into the environment during the building phase, says a new study by the German Environment Agency (UBA). The good news is that pollutant leaching from building envelopes can be prevented almost entirely with little effort. read more
German Ecodesign Award 2022: Competition for outstanding ecological design issues call for entries across Europe
Effective immediately, businesses of all sizes from all sectors, designers and students can submit their projects to apply for the award. The award targets creative design ideas and projects which also meet the highest ecological demands. The application deadline is 18 April 2022. read more
Picture-perfect fruit and vegetables are a burden on environment and climate
Strict requirements regarding the appearance and size of fruit and vegetables are a burden on the environment because this often requires the use of additional plant protection agents and fertilisers. It also causes unnecessary food losses. The consumer protection centres and UBA call on businesses to offer fruit and vegetables in all sizes and looks as standard. read more
German Ecodesign Award goes to 10 products and concepts demonstrating innovative, sustainable design
Ten winners received the German Ecodesign Award 2021 today. The award went to a very diverse set of innovative projects, ranging from personal care products one can mix at home, a school building with a climate-positive energy balance, mail order that does without packaging waste, to giving old fur a new life. read more
Environmentally Harmful Subsidies: nearly half granted for road traffic and aviation
The phasing out of tax breaks for automobile and agricultural diesel, the private use of fossil-fuel company cars and agricultural vehicles, as well as of the commuter mileage allowance would generate additional revenues for the public sector in the double-digit billions. This is the conclusion of a new study by the German Environment Agency (UBA) on environmentally harmful subsidies in 2018. read more