Welcome to Publyon’s Sustainability Newsletter. Every month, we bring you the latest insights into EU sustainability trends and policy developments, including analyses from our experts, a roundup of discussions happening in Brussels, and selected readings.
Driving Sustainable Change: The Vital Connection Between Local Governments and Brussels
Local and regional governments play a crucial role in implementing ambitious measures to mitigate climate change and its impacts. In addition to national targets, EU policies also require local and regional governments to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions. To effectively respond to these requirements, it is essential for municipalities and regions to understand and anticipate the policies emerging from Brussels.
Understanding the policies emerging from Brussels empowers local and regional governments to align with EU legislation and regulations, assess their impact, and develop local climate targets that contribute to the broader European climate agenda. It is not just about responding on an ad hoc basis; it requires a structured and long-term vision.
A recent Dutch study revealed that municipalities and regions are increasingly interested in EU activities. They seek economic development opportunities through funding, expand their networks, and establish cross-border cooperations to realise their policy priorities. Engaging with EU affairs allows municipalities to actively participate in decision-making processes, access resources and funding, collaborate with other local authorities, and shape policies that directly affect their communities.
At Publyon, we understand the importance of local authorities being well-informed about the impact of EU policies and the subsequent opportunities they present. Our services support municipalities in understanding EU policies, delivering their message to EU institutions, and preparing for the future.
By staying informed and engaged, local authorities can effectively address local challenges, seize opportunities, exchange best practices, attract investments, and contribute to the overall development and well-being of their residents.
Empower your municipality with Publyon’s expertise in navigating EU policies and make a lasting impact on your community’s sustainable future!
Deforestation – Is your business selling timber in Europe? Here’s what is coming for you.
On 16 May, the Council of the European Union gave its final seal of approval to the Regulation on deforestation-free products. To minimise deforestation and forest degradation, the legislation regulates the presence of products (including from import) in the Single Market which are associated with deforestation. As such, the EU seeks to promote the consumption of products from deforestation-free supply chains in the EU.
But which products exactly are affected by the Regulation, and how does that impact your business?
The Regulation sets mandatory due diligence rules for all operators and traders who place, make available, or export commodities such as palm oil, cattle, wood, coffee, cocoa, rubber, soy, and their derived products from the EU market.
Operators and traders will have to prepare due diligence statements to be submitted to the examination of competent authorities. Small operators also can rely on larger operators to prepare such due diligence statements. These statements will include, for instance, strict traceability requirements that link each of the commodities to the plot of land where it has been produced, to identify whether said products are associated with deforestation practices.
The new Regulation also considers the safeguarding of human rights related to deforestation, and an inclusion was made to acknowledge the principle of obtaining free prior and informed consent from indigenous communities.
In addition, the Regulation provides for the development of a three-tier benchmarking system assigning a level of risk to countries or regions within and outside the EU according to the risk of deforestation. The risk category will determine the level of specific obligations for operators and competent authorities to carry out inspections and controls.
The Regulation sets a cut-off date for its rules on 31 December 2020, meaning that only products that have been produced on land that has not been subject to deforestation or forest degradation after 31 December 2020 will be allowed on the EU market or to be exported from the EU.
What does this mean for your company?
If your business does not comply to the Regulation’s requirements, you may receive fines proportionate to the environmental damage and the value of the relevant commodities or products concerned. These fines can be set at the level of at least 4% of your annual turnover in the EU. The penalties also include a temporary exclusion from public procurement processes and access to public funding.
What potential challenges can businesses like yours face with the application of this new legislative framework?
A key challenge that companies might face is the potential disruptions in their supply chains. The requirement to trace products back to the specific plots of land where they were produced may be particularly challenging for complex supply chains with multiple intermediaries. Ensuring that all suppliers comply with the deforestation-free requirements may require renegotiating contracts, finding alternative suppliers, or even changing sourcing regions, which can cause disruptions and uncertainties in the supply chain.
However, the new Regulation also presents an opportunity for stakeholders to collaborate and form partnerships. Small operators, for example, can rely on larger operators to prepare due diligence statements, allowing them to pool resources and share expertise. Similarly, companies can collaborate with NGOs, indigenous communities, and other stakeholders to ensure compliance, promote sustainable practices, and build mutually beneficial relationships. Such collaborations can enhance brand reputation, foster innovation, and open doors to new markets and opportunities.
According to the Regulation, within 18 months the European Commission will publish several guidelines for the compliance of operators, traders (particularly SMEs), and competent authorities to all Regulation requirements, to not leave businesses wondering in the dark.
Marcel Borger - CEO OG Clean Fuels
In this edition of Publyon Sustainability Newsletter, we are delighted to present an exclusive interview with one of our clients , OG Clean Fuels, who has experienced the transformative power of engaging with EU affairs. Through this interview, we aim to shed light on the remarkable opportunities that public affairs offer to stakeholders, whether they are institutions, municipalities, or businesses. Our client’s story serves as a testament to the significant impact that active involvement in EU affairs can have on shaping policies and unlocking opportunities. Read more on our website.
Can you briefly introduce your company and what you do?
OG Clean Fuels is an independent clean fuel retailer with almost 300 locations which offers only clean fuels in The Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, and Italy. The fuels are Bio-CNG, Bio-LNG, EV, Hydrogen and HVO100.
What are your current goals and what challenges is your company currently facing in the EU?
Our goal is to integrate all clean fuels in our European network and make sure that our multifuel vision including biofuels like Bio-CNG, Bio-LNG and HVO100 is adopted by the EU which is now more focused on EV and Hydrogen. Because in our vision we need all clean fuels to reach the sustainable goals in 2040.
What approach have you taken to address these challenges?
To address these challenges, we chose to advocate for clean fuels at national and the EU level. More specifically, we entered discussions with the European Parliament to convey that current set ambitions would be unrealistic if solely supported by EV and Hydrogen. We worked hard to convince policymakers of the positive role that clean fuels can play in achieving the EU’s ambitions and proposed solutions at Member State level, considering national specificities.
How has Publyon helped you in this process?
Publyon has made sure that we can monitor the different stages in the decision-making process related to clean fuels and that we have an effective strategy to act in time and deliver on our objectives.
What have you gained from the support of Publyon?
Due to Publyon’s support OG gained more exposure to the Brussels affairs as well as a strategic expertise in promoting our multi-clean fuels, comprised of sound understanding on how the decision-making processes in the EU work as well as how we can act on it to support the EU’s ambitions and OG’s objectives.
Based on your experience, what advice would you give to other companies in your industry to help them succeed/overcome a similar challenge?
We are still in the middle of the challenge and the advice that I can give is that engaging in public affairs can present numerous opportunities. Aside from gaining an understanding of existing and upcoming regulatory changes, it is necessary to make your company, technology, and solution visible to the decision-makers who can support your approach, based on the values you stand for.
Where can you run into our team?
- On 6 and 7 June, you may bump into Jeanne, our circular economy and due diligence expert, at the EU Green Week 2023
- If you are fond of packaging, you can count on Eliza, our circular economy consultant to tell you all about it on 8 June, at the Reuse Conference organised by DUH
- Get a chance to chat with Maria, our agricultural policy expert, at the Renew Europe Seminar “Innovation or Stagnation: The Future of CAP” taking place in the European Parliament on 7 June
- Come join Arnaud, our sustainable energy expert, at this year’s European Sustainable Energy Week between 20 and 22 June
- Maria will also attend the #FoodFuture Ideas Fest and Summer Party 2023 on 28 June in Parc Leopold
- On 28 June, do not hesitate to come have a chat with Laura on circular economy and packaging, at an event questioning how to make PPWR work.
Hi, my name is Eliza and I am curating this newsletter to bring Brussels’ main sustainability insights to your inbox, every month. Do not hesitate to reach out should you need more information on the newsletter’s content or if you have suggestions for our next editions.Contact