Issue Number 26 - June 2009


eNews is an electronic newsletter regularly published by the European Topic Centre on Sustainable Consumption and Production (ETC/SCP) as a source of information for Eionet.

The headlines in this issue of eNews are:

Introducing the new Topic Centre

On January 1st, 2009, the consortium European Topic Centre on Sustainable Consumption and Production started work under a 5-year Framework Partnership agreement from the EEA. The Topic Centre will help the EEA provide timely, targeted, relevant and reliable information in the area of Sustainable Consumption and Production, Waste, and Resource Use to policy makers and the public.

The consortium is coordinated by the Copenhagen Resource Institute, in continuation of the work it undertook as the coordinating member of the preceding European Topic Centre on Resource and Waste Management. The change of subject area, from waste and resources to sustainable consumption and production, mirrors current policy focus.

The ETC/SCP consortium includes:

In addition to these consortium partners, the Topic Centre will draw upon specially selected Associate Experts as a supplementary knowledge base.

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Scope of our work

The ETC/SCP expands on the work undertaken by the previous ETC/RWM to include issues related to the effects of and policies regulating consumption. The implementation plan for 2009 groups projects into seven themes;

  • Indicators
  • EU Action Plan on SCP
  • Consumption
  • Waste Analysis
  • Country Fact Sheets
  • Cross Cutting issues
  • Management and Networking

For more information on these work areas please consult our Implementation Plan. If you require more information on a particular project, please feel free to contact the relevant Topic Centre project manager detailed therein. The following news items introduce some of the projects within the above themes, as well as developments within SCP.

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Sustainable Consumption in a new Green Economy

The EEA is working on a 12 month Green Economy Initiative with various sub-projects. As part of this initiative the Topic Centre has been asked to produce a paper on Smart Consumption and the Green Economy Initiative.

Overconsumption is a key cause behind the economic, energy and ecosystems crises, which means that changing consumption behaviour is also an essential element of their solutions. The economic crisis has induced change in consumption behaviour towards lower consumption. Though currently perceived in a negative way, the economic crisis could be a window of opportunity for achieving long-lasting behavioural changes towards sustainable consumption – if used in a smart way. The project will examine the current changes and possible effects on the environment, and principles and options will be set out for how we can get more well-being for less environmental pressures.

The main deliverable will be a 25 page paper where we develop the arguments on smart consumption, and some options for possible policy directions. This will be finalised at the end of June, and may be used as a basis for further work e.g. articles, presentations.

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The European Environment - State and Outlook 2010 Report (SOER2010)

The Topic Centre has been working on three storylines for the forthcoming European Environment - State and Outlook 2010 Report. Our experts are currently involved in developing key messages, analyses, data, facts and figures in support of the EEA on the following topics within the report:

  • Smart Production and Resource Use
  • Smart Consumption
  • Waste.

These messages will be compiled to into the final paper and web-based reports. The SOER2010 will be published by the European Environment Agency in November 2010. Draft chapters will enter country consultation during autumn 2009.

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Detailed information about transboundary shipment of waste

In March 2009 the EEA released a report on Transboundary Shipments of Waste. A main conclusion of which was that more detailed reporting to the EU Commission on waste shipments based on the European Waste List would enable us to obtain a better understanding of the nature of these shipments.

In February 2009 the Topic Centre initiated a survey in which the EEA Member Countries were asked:

  • Whether the country registers transboundary shipment of waste according to the codes in the European Waste List and not only based on the Basel/OECD codes.
  • Whether the countries publish already publish statistics on transboundary shipments of waste based on the European Waste List Code.
  • If a country does not currently publish statistics on transboundary shipments of waste based on the European Waste List Code, is it possible to extract this information from the country’s data registration system.

28 EEA countries have answered the inquiry, an extremely high reply rate. We thank all contributors for your answers. 22 countries register transboundary shipment of waste based on the European Waste List Code. Most of these countries are also able to provide us with data for which we are very grateful. The Topic Centre will now analyze this data in order to develop a methodology for estimating the environmental and economic effects of the shipments.

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ISWA’s Task Force on Green House Gases

As mentioned in the last eNews, the Topic Centre represents the EEA in the International Solid Waste Association’s Task Force on Green House Gases. By grasping the COP15 opportunity, ISWA would like to promote the waste sector’s potential and render the waste activities visible to the decision-makers within the climate change framework. A 20-page White Paper about the waste sector’s potential will be presented before the COP 15.

Three workshops have been held in order to prepare the ISWA message to the COP15. The latest one was in Paris on 18-19 May, where the Topic Centre presented "the EU Achievements, Opportunities and Barriers to reduce waste management Green House Gas Emissions". According to an EU decision in 2008, the total yearly net reduction of CO2-equivalents in the EU should be 780 million tonnes by 2020 compared to 2005. It is estimated that better waste management can contribute between 25-30% toward this target for green house gas emission reduction.

We would like to use this opportunity to encourage the National Reference Centres on Waste to highlight in its respective countries before the COP15 the potential within the waste sector for the reduction green house gas emissions.

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The role of retailers

As one of the product chain actors, retailers can play a supporting role in endeavours towards establishing patterns of sustainable consumption and production. Being in direct contact with consumers, they exert influence on what kind of products consumers buy, and how they use and dispose of them. Furthermore, the relationship between retailers and suppliers worldwide bears the opportunity to encourage sustainable production practices.

The focus of the project this year is specifically on the analysis of the supporting role of retailers in moving towards SCP. The analyses are planned to include a mapping of retailers’ role in driving relevant socio-economic mega trends, as well as to identify the hot-spots within priority food and drink production chains. These hot-spots will be compared with current retailer initiatives. Additionally, good examples of initiatives led by retailer companies or established at the sector level will be gathered and assessed. Recognizing that retailer companies are part of the "triangle of change", the role of other stakeholders, such as policy makers, in providing the framework to act will also be explored, for example by looking at the opportunities for policy intervention to support retailers SCP initiatives. It is planned to conduct interviews with leading retailer companies and SCP experts.

The project was kicked-off in January 2009. At the end of 2009 a booklet summarizing the findings and analyses shall be produced. While this year’s project work will thematically concentrate on the food and drink industry, other industries could be looked at in the future.

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Country Factsheets on National SCP Policies in EEA Member Countries

By recognising the need for up-to-date information on existing SCP policies in EEA member countries in a structured and concise format, work on Country Factsheets on National SCP Policies was initiated by the European Environment Agency, in 2008.

Based on the results of initial work by the European Topic Centre on Resource and Waste Management (ETC/RWM) in 2008 - a draft Conceptual Framework of SCP Policies at the National Level - the Topic Centre is currently working on a series of pilot SCP factsheets for six countries: Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, France and the United Kingdom. This first series of pilot factsheets consists of the following two components:

  • Overall policy framework to support the implementation of SCP: the central question of this component of the pilot factsheets is what strategic objectives, indicators and quantitative targets are defined in national SCP or SCP-related strategies and action plans etc. Other building blocks of this component include, inter alia, institutions in place “in the name of SCP” and examples of other innovative institutions that have potential to foster the implementation of SCP in the national context as well as related examples of campaigns and stakeholder events
  • Examples of good practices in national SCP policies to promote sustainable household consumption: the aim of this component is to provide visibility to innovative examples of national consumption-oriented policies in place, which have high potential to make a difference as well as good potential for replication in other countries. Here, the project is focussing primarily on the consumption areas of food & drink, housing & construction and mobility, including travelling for leisure purposes.

This first series of pilot SCP factsheets will be presented to and discussed with country representatives at the forthcoming Eionet workshop. This will provide a platform for participants to discuss the results of the first series of pilot SCP factsheets, including the proposed structure and the potential benefits of the availability of information to different stakeholders, as well as options for improvement and potential further information needs in the short, medium and long term. Furthermore, participants are expected to work out, through participatory discussion, options towards potential follow-up activities, including options for the involvement of Eionet in the preparation of the factsheets.

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European Roundtable on Sustainable Consumption and Production

The 13th European Roundtable on SCP was held in Aalborg, Denmark on June 9-10th, 2009 as a part of the Joint Actions on Climate Change conference. The Topic Centre was represented at the event and gave the opening presentation for the SCP segment of the conference jointly with the EEA.

A total of nearly 200 speakers attended the conference and its 70 sessions and workshops. For the SCP segment of the conference, sessions included topics such as Innovative policy instruments and bottom-up initiatives for an SCP action plan, Blueprint on SCP, Changing Consumer Lifestyles, Changing Lifestyles and Creating Markets and How to work collectively with the retailer sector for effective communication of product chain information to consumers.

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Hot off the Press - Diverting Waste from Landfill

The EEA has launched a new report prepared by the Topic Centre studying the effectiveness of national waste policies related to the Landfill Directive entitled "Diverting waste from landfill".

Adopted in 1999, the Landfill Directive was a milestone in EU waste policy.

The report finds that the EU Landfill Directive has been a positive force in altering management of biodegradable municipal waste in the EU. The report analyses and compares waste management in Estonia, Finland, the Flemish Region of Belgium, Germany, Hungary and Italy to find out how practices and policies have shifted in the last decade. From the strategies and measures reviewed, it extracts important conclusions for policy-makers across the EU that will help in meeting the Directive's next targets in 2016 and beyond. The study explains how setting medium and long term targets for reducing landfilling has helped countries to define waste strategies and target investments.

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Here you can find all publications from the Topic Centre:

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Please contact Gitte Rusz Andersen at the Topic Centre on giran@etc.mim.dk if you have any comments or suggestions for eNews.

European Topic Centre on Resource and Waste Management
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Tel: +45 72 54 61 60 - Fax: +45 33 32 22 27

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The aim of the electronic newsletter is to provide the National Focal Points (NFPs) and the National Reference Centres (NRCs) with information on the activities of the Topic Centre. The newsletters will also report on the expected involvement of Eionet in the future and inform on progress on reports, which have been sent to the EEA for Eionet review and consultation.

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