On 22 April we celebrate international Earth day. Planet Earth, the 3rd rock from the Sun is the only “address” of all of us, yet we behave like we have a few spare planets. Slovenia reached its Ecological Debt Day this year on 18 April.
This day is called Earth Overshoot Day, and it means that we have used up all the resources and ecosystem services that the Earth can renew in a year. So we will live in ecological debt for more than seven months. If all people in the world lived like the inhabitants of Slovenia, we would need 3.4 planet Earths. Needless to say, many countries have reached Earth Overshoot Day earlier and we expect Earth Overshoot Day to be sometime in July.
Considering the above facts, it is obvious that it is high time for a strategic and ambitious package of measures.
Sustainability is no longer just an “option”, a “nice to have”, but a business imperative for every company, it is a hot topic in boardrooms. Economies around us are accelerating their sustainability projects and measures because they realize it will be an important competitive benchmark, important for brand reputation and access to finance. And all players in the energy management value chain must deliver on their promise… complete the green and digital transformation of the energy sector, focus on energy efficiency, and empower consumers, leading to the decarbonization of our societies and enabling society to effectively manage the risk of “Earth Overshoot.”
Fortunately, we have reached an important agreement between politicians, governments, societies and economies at the global level, and we can now see a legislative tsunami not only in the EU, but also globally. We and our customers have to respond to and comply with many new laws, e.g:
- Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive; expands the scope of reporting, requires clear KPIs, expands the scope to all large companies, requires verification (assurance) of reported information, introduces more detailed reporting requirements and requires reporting to be done in accordance with mandatory EU sustainability reporting standards, requires companies to digitally tag reported information so that it is machine-readable and feeds into the European one-stop store envisioned in the Capital Markets Union Action Plan.
- Sustainability Due-diligence Directive; The proposal aims to promote sustainable and responsible corporate behaviour in all global value chains. In February 2022, the European Commission adopted the proposal for a Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive. Identifying negative impacts throughout the value chain will be easier if companies conduct due diligence and more information is available on negative impacts on human rights and the environment. The scope of the Directive focuses mainly on the obligation to conduct due diligence on business with regard to negative impacts on human rights and the environment, which can be clearly defined in the selected international conventions listed in the Annex. The duties assigned to business managers are closely related to the due diligence obligations and are therefore, in the view of the European Commission, necessary for due diligence to be effective. In addition, the directive requires each company to have a clear “climate action plan, with KPIs and reported results.”
- There will be many new requirements in the form of the “EU Sustainable Products Initiative,” which calls for:
- Eco-design of products,
- embedded principles of the circular economy,
- Energy efficiency of products, material efficiency of products
- Life cycle assessment of products (LCA)
- The carbon border tax will be introduced in 4 years. It will be levied on products imported into the European Union that do not comply with EU climate standards in their production and cause high CO2 emissions. It imposes a carbon price on the products in question to avoid “carbon leakage”. This ensures that European emissions cuts contribute to global emissions reductions, rather than shifting carbon-intensive production outside Europe. It also aims to encourage industry outside the EU and our international partners to take steps in the same direction. At the same time, it is important to note that carbon prices have increased by more than 250% in the last year. From 33€/t in January 2021 to 88€/t in February 2022.
- EU tax rules impose a number of requirements on financial institutions to channel their investments into supporting the transition to a green economy. As a result, companies must report to financial organizations on their sustainability performance. The EU taxonomy is a complex system for classifying areas of the economy that can be marketed as sustainable investments. It contains a long list of economic activities as well as detailed environmental criteria that each sector must meet in order to receive a green label.
There are also other global initiatives aimed at the same goals mentioned above:
- In China, sustainability goals are high. China generates more solar power than any other country. That may not be that impressive given China’s enormous population, but it’s a sign of where the country is headed. China’s wind turbines were more than three times the size of any other country’s in 2020. The country plans to reduce the amount of energy it generates from fossil fuels by more than two-thirds.
- The United States has set a goal of generating 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2035. Environmental sustainability laws in the U.S. include the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, and the Lacey Act.
- In response to the international commitment to sustainable consumption and production, Latin America and the Caribbean have taken a number of steps aimed at strengthening a regional sustainability strategy based on changing production and consumption patterns. The Council of Governmental Experts on Sustainable Consumption and Production was established in 2003 as part of the Forum of Ministers of Environment of Latin America and the Caribbean to follow up on the issue in national environmental bodies, advise the forum, and broaden the participation of the private sector, academia, nongovernmental organizations, and other civil society organizations.
The production and use of energy are responsible for more than 75% of greenhouse gas emissions in the EU. Globally, energy production and use account for more than 70% of greenhouse gas emissions. Decarbonizing the EU’s energy system is therefore critical to achieving our 2030 climate targets and the EU’s long-term strategy to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.
It is important to note that energy demand is growing and becoming electrified.
Therefore, a clean energy transition is crucial. Ensuring a secure and affordable energy supply, developing a fully integrated, interconnected and digitalized energy market, prioritizing energy efficiency, improving the energy efficiency of our buildings and developing a power sector largely based on renewable sources are the main objectives at global level.
The main goals are:
- Build interconnected energy systems and better-integrated grids to support renewable energy sources,
- Promote innovative technologies and modern infrastructures,
- Increase energy efficiency and eco-design of products, services and whole systems.
- Decarbonize the gas sector and promote smart integration between sectors,
- Empower consumers and prosumers, and help countries address energy poverty.
Iskraemeco provides quality products, solutions and services that enable efficient use of energy and water worldwide. Digitized solutions based on IoT, digital networks and smart cities, utilities, infrastructures and communities provide the data needed to manage energy and water consumption, forecast demand and optimize costs. The solutions enable users to operate more sustainably. In this way, our solutions help change the world for a better and safer future. For us and for our children.