EUROCHAMBRES wishes to express their expectations for the outcome of the negotiations, as well as their approach to the SDGs, in the light of the upcoming COP26 in Glasgow.
The signing of the Paris Agreement in 2015 marked a watershed moment in international climate action. Since then, a growing number of countries have committed to specific decarbonisation targets. Recent calculations on aggregated national climate targets, however, show that they will not result in the desired limitation of global average temperature to well below 2°C.
The EU is a global frontrunner in climate action, and it should maintain its position as a technology leader in this field. Nonetheless, implementing ever more carbon-cutting measures while others have only pledged to meet targets will not result in the desired global outcomes. This is because on the one hand, the EU accounts for only 8% of global GHG emissions, and on the other, because it would lead to competitive disadvantages for European companies and a loss of economic power in the long run.
Despite the many challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the international community must come together to reach agreement at COP26. Such agreement must accelerate global climate action and unite the world, especially key players like the US and China, on a path to a zero-carbon economy to build back better after the pandemic. During this meeting of global leaders we urge for the establishment of cross-border carbon markets and a strong and practical Paris rulebook (Art 6), which would allow countries and businesses to take cost-effective decisions on decarbonisation options both domestically and through global cooperation with other countries. This would further eliminate climate-related trade frictions while at the same time, alleviate administrative challenges for businesses caused by the current fragmented carbon market price regimes.
Shifting to a low-emissions path will necessitate significant global investment, with a large portion of that required in energy efficiency and low-carbon technologies. Clear guidance on the possibilities of transferring emissions reductions between countries, as well as on eligible projects for reduction earnings, will provide additional clarity to the private sector on where to deploy capital expenditure for the transformation. Well-designed Article 6 mechanisms can also lay the policy foundation for the private sector to increase investments in low-emission technologies while also promoting technology transfer and capacity building among countries.
Multilateral cooperation and strengthened (private) partnerships are critical components forachieving global goals. In this regard, the chamber network can serve as a perfect multiplier, acting as a bridge between the political and business spheres. EUROCHAMBRES and the national chamber network are committed to supporting its members in adopting and implementing the SDGs as a means of staying focused on the long-term goal. As a large network with a huge multiplier effect, we encourage the application of the SDGs by sharing best practices and building capacity and knowledge of sustainability among the chambers.
Many chambers have already implemented services and initiatives for their member businesses. The following information provides an insight of these services:
Austrian Federal Chamber (WKO) educates European Energy Manager
For professionals at the corporate level, WKO offers a comprehensive energy manager training program. It is a standardised European program that raises awareness about energy sources and efficiency within a firm in a holistic manner, addressing economic, environmental, and social issues all at the same time. Participants must complete a concrete project work. Together, these projects have saved 1.2 million MWH of energy per year.
Voka Charter of Sustainable Business (VCDO)
The VCDO is a UN-recognised business certification scheme that assists businesses in meeting their sustainability goals. They design their own action plan, which is tailored to their specific demands and size. A minimum of 10 actions in line with the 17 UN SDGs must be carried out by the company and reviewed and accepted by an independent evaluation committee and CIFAL Flanders. The VCDO certificate is given to successful businesses.
Chambers Ireland activities on the SDGs
All affiliated Chambers of Commerce across Ireland pledged their commitment to the SDGs, committing to uphold and implement the goals in their daily operations, create or support policies that reflect the SDGs, and promote how the SDGs benefit businesses and society. Its work through the Chambers Ireland Sustainable Business Council, the Sustainable Business Impact Awards, and the recently published Chambers Ireland SDG Toolkit for Business are just a selection of Chambers good practices.
The Finnish Chamber of Commerce’s ‘Climate Commitment’ initiative
The ”Climate Commitment” initiative is for Finnish enterprises that aim to be carbon neutral by 2035. To achieve this goal, participants should present a roadmap and 5-year strategy. The initiative focuses on direct and indirect emissions, and businesses must develop an action plan to reduce emissions in order to meet the objective. As a result, they are permitted to use the appropriate symbol for one year.
Italy’s activities around circular economy
The Green Italy Report monitors companies that invest in greening. Chambers interface with companies for the collection of environmental data which is used to develop new interactive analysis tools to guide policy interventions, analyze waste chains, develop new production chains, support companies, especially in some production chains, to ensure that the production cycle closes by feeding the market of secondary raw materials as much as possible, reducing the volume of waste to be treated.
Co-constructed with a panel of member companies and designed as a compass around the 4 pillars of Governance, Prosperity, Planet, People, the Luxembourg Sustainable Business Principles have been established to guide and provide a strategic and coherent vision of the implementation of sustainable development at the company level. They allow for the anticipation of regulations, meeting the expectations of various stakeholders, and seizing related opportunities for growth. The CC currently works on a joint action plan with the Luxembourg ecosystem to support the member companies in the implementation of the principles (awareness raising, trainings, programmes, best practices, etc).
Since 2019, the MBB has been implementing the EU-funded LIFE FOSTER project, which aims to reduce food waste in the food services sector. It brings together a group of partners from Malta, Italy, France, and Spain, with the goal of developing an educational model for chefs and kitchen staff to help them reduce food waste in their kitchens. This model has been gradually integrated into courses offered by participating Vocational Education and Training centers. Apart from the educational approach, the project has already started to engage professional chefs in the hospitality industry through several food waste reduction workshops offered over 2021 and 2022.
The ‘Digital Platform for Circular Economy’ of the Serbian Chamber
The digital platform for circular economy helps to increase the economy’s capacity to transition toward green investments, green recovery and increased competitiveness in the European market by implementing new circular ways of doing business. The Platform is intended for direct communication between companies, as well as for presenting good practices and innovative ideas, resulting in the formation of diverse clusters and the establishment of new business ties.