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Newsletter 032011

Newsletter 032011

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Published by Jean-Yves Mesnil

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Published by: Jean-Yves Mesnil on Jun 17, 2011
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Dear EMAS Community,Although the United Nations InternationalYear of Biodiversity 2010 came to an end, thechallenge of understanding and managing theimpact of biodiversity on the bottom lines ofcompanies and other organisations has justbegun.According to the “European Business andBiodiversity Campaign”, around 40 per centof the world economy relies on biologicalproducts, services or processes. Undoubtedly,companies and other organisations have muchto gain from protecting biodiversity.However, biodiversity management can bea complex issue. EMAS is perfectly equippedto help organisations approach biodiversityprotection in a strategic and systematicmanner. In this Newsletter we provide youwith information on the links between natureand the economy, as well as discussions aboutthe ways in which biodiversity protectioncan be achieved by both private and publicorganisations.Enjoy the reading!
The EMAS Team, European Commission, EnvironmentDirectorate General – Unit C1 – Environment & Industry
EMAS and biodiversity
In the spotlight
Integrating biodiversity concerns intoenvironmental management
Biodiversity, defined as thevariety of life, is disappearing atan unprecedented rate, and theconsequences of this continuousloss are considered as dramaticas the consequences of climatechange – not only from anecological standpoint, but alsofrom an economic one.Most companies and other organisations havea two-way relationship with biodiversity. Onthe one hand, their activities have an impact onbiodiversity and ecosystems, such as mining or oilcompanies, as well as banks or local authorities.This impact can be of a direct nature through coreindustry operations or indirect through supplychain activities or investment and administrativedecisions. On the other hand, many organisations,including those in the food production or tourismsectors, depend on ecosystem services like freshwater or fisheries as key inputs to productionprocesses or offered products and services.Improving your organisation’s biodiversityperformance requires integration of relevantconsiderations into the entireEMAS implementation cycle.For example, it is necessaryto assess the risks andopportunities stemming fromyour organisation’s positiveand negative impacts onbiodiversity, as well as yourdependency on ecosystem services. Based onyour assessment results, biodiversity-relatedpolicies, programmes, and objectives need to beformulated. Subsequently, concrete measures toachieve the set objectives need to be launched,and your environmental management system willneed to be adjusted (e.g. biodiversity education/training for employees). Suitable indicators areto be selected to monitor and communicate yourperformance improvements. The environmentalcore indicator on land consumption (and the otherfive core indicators) introduced with EMAS III isa good starting point. However, biodiversity is acomplex issue, and organisations are encouragedto develop additional indicators to measure,benchmark, and continuously improve theirenvironmental performance.
Mr. Janez PotocnikCommissioner for Environment
The EuropeanEco-Managementand Audit Scheme
Improving your environmentaland business performance
Issue 01 / March 2011
I   S  S   5  6  5  6  9 
- Newsletter
The Polish municipality of Trzebinia with itsapproximately 34,000 inhabitants is locatedin the Silesian-Cracovian Plateau. The regionis characterised by its sensitive habitats anddiverse wildlife. One of the objectives of theTown Council of Trzebinia, which employs 169people, is to protect nature.EMAS is one of the main instrumentsused to achieve this objective. The TownCouncil’s Department of Waste Management,Environmental Protection, Agriculture andForestry is the first local authority in Polandto be EMAS registered (reg. no.: PL-2.12-001-9). The scheme helps the local authority,which fulfils many responsibilities includingroad maintenance or development of newinfrastructure, to approach both direct andindirect significant environmental aspects.Significant direct environmental aspects relatedto the protection of nature which the Departmenthas identified include the organisation’s energyand water consumption. For example, throughsimple and straightforward activities suchas switching-off electronic equipment whennot in use or controlling the use of waterthrough employee educational activities, theDepartment achieved an 11 per cent reduction inenergy consumption and a 35 per cent reductionin water consumption between 2007 and 2009(baseline year 2006) in its office.Although local authorities need to considerdirect environmental aspects they play a crucialrole in protecting biodiversity mainly throughtheir administrative and planning decisions.Biodiversity protection can be successful onlywhen it is taken into account in infrastructuredevelopment and other kinds of projects. Forexample, the Town Council of Trzebinia considershow to protect nature when developing spatialplans and other planning procedures. Spatialplans influence decisions about developmentand land use which may affect habitatsand wildlife. In order to be able to embedbiodiversity considerations into administrativeand planning decisions, employees in theDepartment are regularly educated aboutimportant environmental matters relating tobiodiversity.Education is also used to increase publicknowledge and understanding of natureprotection. For example, the Departmenteducates citizens and visitors about theimportance of protecting habitats and wildlife.This may be achieved through environmentaleducation activities in schools or through thedissemination of information about local naturereserves and wildlife in the environmentalstatement and other relevant publications.Further information is available athttp://www.trzebinia.pl
Case Study
The Polish municipality of Trzebinia
2 EMAS - Newsletter
MARCH 2011
The Marine ProtectedArea of Plemmiriois a popular touristdestination in Italy,which covers an area ofapprox. 2,500 squaremeters of the sea on thebeautiful eastern cost ofSicily near the city of Syracuse. Protecting andenhancing the region’s precious and vulnerablebiodiversity, particularly the species-richcoastal wetlands, while promoting tourismis one of the core challenges the ConsortiumPlemmirio faces. The EMAS registered publicorganisation (reg. no.: IT-001135), which hasbeen established by the Italian Ministry for theEnvironment, Land and Sea, is the managingbody of the Marine Protected Area. We spokewith Ms. Rosalba Rizza, the environmentalmanager of Consortium Plemmirio, about theorganisation’s approach to biodiversity.EMAS Helpdesk: What are the key drivers forusing EMAS to systematise your environmentalmanagement?Rosalba Rizza:
With EMAS we can makesure that being a popular tourist destinationwhile protecting the marine environment isnot a contradiction. In fact, EMAS helps usachieve our objective of becoming a leader inproviding sustainable tourism. For example,through the scheme we are able to integrateenvironmental concerns into planning decisionsand development plans systematically.Additionally, we are able to communicate ourachievements as well as our mission throughthe environmental statement to our employees,the local community and tourists.
What are your main environmentalimprovements with regard to biodiversity?
The Consortium Plemmirio constantly aimsto prevent waste and water pollution. This isachieved inter alia by launching environmentaleducation programmes in schools and fortourists. Additionally, local fishermen areinformed about sustainable fishing methods.We have also set up measures to respond toaccidental spills at sea. By doing so, over theyears the area has seen an increase in fishstocks and in the diversity of flora and fauna.
Which indicators do you use to measure yourperformance with regard biodiversity?
In addition to the EMAS environmental coreindicator on biodiversity (land use) we haveintroduced several specific indicators. Forexample, we measure if the amount of certainfish populations have increased or decreased.We also focus on species diversity by measuringtheir presence, abundance and distribution(based on the Shannon Index; index of speciesdiversity).Further information on the marine reserve isavailable athttp://www.plemmirio.itandhttp://www.consorzioplemmirio.it
Faces of EMAS
- Interview with an environmental manager
Ms. Rosalba Rizza, Consortium Plemmirio (Italy)
- Newsletter
Following the example of the Stern report,which examined the impact of climate changeon the economy, “The Economics of Ecosystemsand Biodiversity” (TEEB) study highlightsthe economic value of biodiversity. The TEEBstudy was conducted by the United NationsEnvironment Programme (UNEP) with financialsupport from the European Commission,Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands,Norway, Sweden, and Japan.The study’s key message is the urgent needfor action on biodiversity loss – both from anecological and an economic standpoint. Forexample, halving deforestation rates by 2030would significantly reduce global emissions ofgreenhouse gases, thereby avoiding damagesfrom climate change estimated at more thanUS$ 3.7 trillion in net present value terms.The TEEB study is a series of reports aimed atdifferent audiences, including businesses, policymakers, and local governments. The studyemphasises the important role that privateand public organisations play in protectingbiodiversity. Work on the TEEB study began in2007 and was finalised with the publicationof thefinal TEEB report,, which was presentedat the 10th meeting of the Conference of theParties to the Convention on Biological Diversityin October 2010 in Nagoya, Japan.Further information is available athttp://www.teebweb.org
TEEB study
In contrast to climate change, biodiversity hasfailed to take root as an important topic in thebusiness community—until now. The “EuropeanBusiness and Biodiversity Campaign” aimsto make the business case for biodiversity byraising awareness about the links betweenbiodiversity and businesses and by assistingcompanies in the assessment of risks andopportunities related to biodiversity. Thecampaign focuses on large companies andsmall and medium-sized enterprises in Europe,as well as business intermediaries like non-governmental organisations (NGOs) andassociations. Led by the Global Nature Fund,the three-year campaign was initiated in 2010by several European NGOs and companies. Itis supported by the European Union’s LIFE+Programme.The campaign rests upon a range of differentactivities. Sector-specific workshops onbiodiversity management are organised fordecision-makers in the private sector, andworkshops are offered for environmentalauditors. Furthermore, the campaign websiteprovides in-depth information on the keyelements of biodiversity management and casestudies on business’ biodiversity approaches.The central element of the campaign is a“Biodiversity Check” available for companies.The approach follows the “Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle” of EMAS. All departments and allfunctions of a company are analysed in orderto fully assess its relationship to biodiversity.These assessments not only take into accountimpacts on biodiversity, but also address acompany’s risks and opportunities related tobiodiversity. The results of the analysis, as wellas recommendations for indicators from anexpert team, serve as the foundation for furtherdecision-making and the inclusion of biodiversityinto a company’s (environmental) managementsystem. The “Biodiversity Check” is tailored tospecific industries and applies sector-specifickey data and indicators to evaluate direct(e.g. maintenance of premises, cultivation ofplants needed for the production) and indirect(e.g. procurement, sourcing of raw materials)impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem services.Other, previously overlooked but equallyimportant environmental aspects of biodiversitymanagement (such as invasive species,communication on biodiversity protection, or“Access and Benefit Sharing” as outlined inthe Convention on Biological Diversity) are alsointegrated in the “Biodiversity Check”.Further information on the campaign is availableathttp://www.business-biodiversity.eu
Good practice
European Business and Biodiversity campaign
EMAS leaflet
An updated version of the EMAS leaflet is nowavailable online! The leaflet provides a quickinsight into the scheme. It includes benefitsfor participating organisations and detailedinstructions on the steps to registration. It iscurrently only available in English. Within thenext few months, the leaflet will be madeavailable in all 23 EU languages.Visit the EMAS website to download or print acopy at http://ec.europa.eu/environment/emas

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