In cooperation with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the German Environment Agency (UBA) is hosting a session on environmental due diligence in global supply chains on June 25, 2020, as part of the "OECD Global Forum for Responsible Business Conduct". The event takes place online. 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.
Sources of natural hazards, such as heavy rainfall, flooding, winter storms or lightning, can cause major accidents. Climate change can change the intensity, frequency and local distribution of such sources of hazards. Operators of installations in which large quantities of hazardous substances are present and the authorities responsible for them must therefore adapt their risk management. read more
Increasing numbers of customers are paying attention to products’ environmental compatibility. How can and should businesses draw attention to the environmental benefits of their products? When can a product be described as "water-saving” or “recyclable”, for instance? read more
Some 2.8 million people in Germany were employed in the environmental protection sector in 2017, says a recent report by the German Environment Agency (UBA). The importance of environmental protection for the labour market has continued to grow in recent years. In 2010, 5.9 percent of the labour force was employed in the environmental protection sector, rising to 6.4 percent in 2017 . read more
Due to the present circumstances, the deadline for the first-ever federal environmental building award called "UMWELT & BAUEN" has been extended. Contestants now have until 22 May 2020 to submit project entries. read more
The new award for sustainable buildings, neighbourhoods and ecological innovation will be awarded in 2020 for the first time and aims to distinguish projects that are exemplary role models of sustainability, not only in the classic areas of building stock and new build, but also in five further categories. All stakeholders in the building sector are eligible to enter. read more
Packaging which is product at the same time? An app that helps users save resources? A new concept for environmentally friendly mobility in rural areas? Businesses, students and unorthodox thinkers are once again called upon to enter the contest with their innovative services, concepts and products by 6 April 2020. read more
Federal Environment Minister and President of German Environment Agency confer German Ecodesign Award 2019
The "SeeElefant" maritime waste collection ship, a house made from cardboard, integrating mealworm farms in bakeries, an urban e-bike sharing system – the winners of the eighth Federal Ecodesign Award offer up innovative solutions and creativity in products and ideas on sustainable lifestyles in times of resource scarcity and climate change. read more