GLOBE EU organized a conference on May 24, 2023, to examine the EU’s chemicals policy and regulatory framework, emphasizing the importance of science-based decision-making to achieve systemic change. Following case studies presented by GLOBE EU Bee Group members Dow, Tarkett, and Sherwin-Williams, speakers from the European Commission, the OECD, and ChemSec discussed how sustainability should be fostered, exposure control improved, and innovation promoted throughout the chemicals value chain.
Maria Spyraki, MEP and rapporteur on the CLP Regulation (on hazard classification, labeling, and packaging of chemical substances and mixtures) in her conclusion emphasized the importance of streamlining standards to create criteria for sustainable products, setting global standards, and raising consumer awareness with a mandatory digital labeling system.
GLOBE EU members Sirpa Pietikäinen, Martin Hojsík, and Margrete Auken welcomed students of the European Schools in Brussels and their teacher, Matthew Pye, who coached the students for the event.
Matthew is a philosophy professor and founder of The Climate Academy, which provides a systemic understanding of the current sustainability crisis for students from ages 14 to 18.
Overshoot day is the moment when mankind has consumed all ecological resources that the earth can regenerate in the entire year.
This year, the Global Footprint Network calculated that Overshoot Day for the EU fell on May 2, the same as last year.
GLOBE EU is grateful to President Metsola, President von der Leyen, Commissioner Sinkevičius, and Mathis Wackernagel, founder and president of the Global Footprint Network for their video messages, which were shown at the start of the event.
On April 12, 2023, Sirpa Pietikäinen and Ville Niinistö welcomed former GLOBE EU President and honorary member Anders Wijkman and former EU Commissioner and co-chair of the International Resource Panel Janez Potočnik.
The Club of Rome presented its landmark “Limits to Growth“ report 50 years ago, warning of the potential resource depletion caused by population growth and the unlimited quest for material goods on a finite planet.
Andersand Janezhave since releaseda follow–up report exploring how to provide the majority of the world population with a decent standard of living while staying within planetary boundaries. Anders explained thefive major turnarounds identified by the report, including addressing poverty and inequality,empowering women, transforming food and energy systems, and reducing material consumption, particularly in industrialized countries.
Janez mentioned that the International Resource Panel had identified resource use as the root of the triple planetary crisis, driving 90% of land–related biodiversity loss, 50% of greenhouse gas emissions, and one-third of health–related pollution impacts. He also mentioned the three major blind spots identified byThe Club of Rome, Systemiq, and Open Sciences Foundations in the EU’s efforts to implement the European Green Deal: lack of holistic system change approach, lack of focus on natural resource use, and market signals, and lack of demand–side focus in policy attention.
He explained that to address these issues, we must prioritize human needs over economic growth, create an economy that acknowledges our embeddedness in nature, and reform our governance structures.Economically, we must change market signals to incentivize sustainable resource use and reward innovative and responsible ways of meeting human needs. This transition can be achieved by changing tax structures and using public money and subsidies to support it, as well as service provisioning, technology, and financial assistance.
Janez concluded by emphasizing that a green future is necessary for there to be any future at all.
Sirpa Pietikäinen, MEP and President of GLOBE EU, and Catherine Chabaud, MEP welcomed Ani Dasgupta, President and CEO of the World Resources Institute, a GLOBE EU partner organization, for the keynote address. Ani emphasized the need for national governments to prioritize water as a crisis issue and the impact of water scarcity on poor communities.
His comments on the outcome of the UN 2023 Water Conference were followed by a panel discussion, moderated by Catherine Chabaud, with interventions by UNEP, the European Commission (DG ENV), Bee Group member Ecolab, and The Ocean Cleanup, touching on microplastic pollution, extending producer responsibility, and recognizing water as a common good of humanity.
10h00 Welcome – Sirpa Pieikäinen, MEP and President of GLOBE EU
10h10 Introduction – Catherine Chabaud, MEP and member of GLOBE EU
10h15 Keynote Address – Ani Dasgupta, President and CEO, World Resources Institute
10h30 Panel Discussion
Veronika Hunt Safrankova – Head of Brussels Office UNEP
Veronica Manfredi, Director, DG ENV-C, European Commission
Tiffany Atwell, SVP Global Government Relations, Ecolab
João Ribeiro-Bidaoui, General Counsel & Director of Global Public Affairs, The Ocean Cleanup
On March 8, GLOBE EU member and MEP Margrete Auken hosted an event to draw attention to the need for European cities and regions to prepare for extreme weather events caused by climate change. Representatives from Copenhagen and Porto were on call to explain the successful implementation, with support from the European Union, in their cities of infrastructure to mitigate the impact of changing precipitation patterns. Nestlé Waters provided examples of industry’s involvement in the implementation of nature-based solutions to manage water extraction. The World Resources Institute and the European Commission (DG CLIMA), finally, presented tools and support mechanisms available to local governments in preparing for climate adaptation.
Welcome and Introductory remarks – Margrete Auken MEP
Jan Rasmussen – Project Director, City of Copenhagen
Felipe Araújo – Vice-Mayor, City of Porto
Janneke de Vries – Director for EU Partnerships, World Resources Institute
Cédric Egger – Head of Sustainability, Nestlé Waters
Willem Jan Goossen – Policy Officer, European Commission