City centres have long been characterised by high levels of consumption. They now face major changes due to online retailing, the aftermath of COVID19 and the climate crisis. The UBA coordinated EU Interreg project “NiCE – from niche to centre”, started in May 2023. The project aims to take advantage of these changes and make city centres more attractive again by offering sustainable options. 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.
UBA study: This is how Germany can achieve its 2030 climate targets
Germany can still achieve its climate targets by 2030. This is the conclusion of a new study by the German Environment Agency (UBA). To do so, Germany would need, among other things, more rail traffic, a reform of the motor vehicle tax and restrictions on fossil-fuel heating. In addition, all emissions would have to be priced and charged to the polluter. read more
Connectivity with consequences: 13 steps to counter software obsolescence
The German Environment Agency (UBA) recommends measures to increase the lifespan of technological devices and gives advice on how consumers can protect themselves. read more
Plastic manufacturers to pay into Single-Use Plastic Fund in future
The new Single-Use Plastic Fund Act requires manufacturers to pay the cost of waste from single-use plastic products generated in streets or parks. For this, companies will pay a levy into the Single-Use Plastics Fund, which is managed by the German Environment Agency (UBA) and administered via the digital platform DIVID. read more
Hazard radar for iron, copper and bauxite supply chains
100 major copper, iron ore and bauxite (“aluminium ore”) mine sites worldwide have been assessed for their environmental hazard potentials. Results have been published in an interactive map with a number of filter functions. In particular, companies can use the map to analyse environmental risks along supply chains and to support their environmental due diligence. read more
Consumer protection: German Environment Agency participates in European screening for manipulative online shop practices
The European consumer protection network, with the first-ever participation of the German Environment Agency, revealed manipulative practices on 148 out of 399 online shops it screened. read more
German Ecodesign Award 2023: Federal Government competition renews offer of reward for ecological design
Designers, students and companies of any size and in any sector from anywhere in Europe have until 17 April 2023 to make an entry for the German Ecodesign Award. Wanted: innovative ideas and projects that are progressive and demonstrate exceptional design. This can include market-ready goods and services, conceptual work, also by students. Creativity knows no bounds here! read more
14 projects to be honoured with the German Ecodesign Award 2022
The 14 winners of the German Ecodesign Award once again display a wide range of forward-looking solutions to tackling the most diverse challenges. These solutions include intelligent lighting systems, a seasonal calendar for green electricity, precast foundations for wind turbines, a deposit chair as well as concepts for transforming the clothing industry and data-based rewetting of peatland. read more