The European Business Awards for the Environment (EBAE) aim to reward businesses which successfully combine innovation and economic viability with the protection of the environment.
The European Commission is committed to enhancing competitiveness and innovation as factors of economic growth. In this context, the capacity to turn sustainable consumption and production patterns into profitable business opportunities is crucial if we want to improve the state of our environment and make a successful transition to a more resource efficient and circular economy.
Through EBAE, the European Commission promotes outstanding economic and environmental performances from the business world; the innovation capacity of entrepreneurs; and the effective use of instruments for the provision of reliable and comparable information such as the Eco-Management Audit Scheme (EMAS) and the European Ecolabel.
A growing number of businesses realise that protecting the environment and making the transition to a circular economy will provide a significant contribution to maintaining Europe’s competitiveness. They understand that our competitive edge will be improved by facing challenges like resource scarcity; learning to use materials and energy efficiently; and by producing smarter goods that can be re-used, repaired and recycled.
EBAE aims to recognise and reward inspirational models, which demonstrate how to modernise the economy with innovative and resource-efficient solutions.
From 2015, EBAE will adapt to the evolving policy context. The 7th Environment Action Programme calls for a more coherent policy framework for sustainable consumption and production to enable a circular economy. In line with the priorities of the new Commission, increased efforts are necessary to support the innovation and competitiveness of EU businesses. In this context, voluntary instruments increase in importance because they help compliance with environmental legislation. The provision of accountable and transparent information on the characteristics and sustainability features of products and services therefore becomes an important marketing tool.
The awards reflect this new direction by taking into consideration voluntary schemes such as EMAS and Ecolabel, together with other comparable instruments, as elements which demonstrate the commitment of the candidate to develop and apply sustainable management practices. This is planned to be reflected in both the Management and the Product & Services categories from the 2016 edition of the EBAE.
Green Banking Products and Services
A decade ago, Piraeus Bank realised the importance of focusing on the various emerging sectors of the environmental economy. In particular, it was the bank’s strategic decision to actively support investment and entrepreneurial efforts in the sectors of renewable energy sources (RES), energy-saving; alternative waste & water management; green chemistry; green transportation; organic farming; eco-tourism; and agro-tourism.
The necessary know-how was developed by the bank, with support from qualified experts. As a result, the bank has developed a constantly-expanding suite of green banking products and services. This commitment has been exemplified in their management decisions; and is reflected in the bank’s organisational restructure (through the creation of the Environmental Banking Sector) in 2009. In addition to the creation and promotion of green banking products, the Sector provides advice and networking services to the group’s customers on environmental economy issues; coordinates and trains the bank’s branch network; and evaluates green investments.
The results of this effort are already visible in an impressive increase in their green funding portfolio over recent years. By December 2013, Piraeus Bank had financed green projects amounting to €1.6 billion, supporting a total of €3 billion of investments. In addition, over 17,000 green (full-time equivalent) jobs have been generated by Piraeus Bank’s green financing.
All this was recognised in the national European Business Awards for the Environment 2013 -2014 in Greece, when Piraeus Bank won the Product Category award for its green banking products & services, with PASEPPE(Hellenic Association of Environmental Protection Companies) evaluating the entries.
During the national awards ceremony in Greece, Elena Primikiri, Head of Green Banking Operations said: “This award reflects the unrelenting commitment and support of Piraeus Bank to the development and promotion of products and services tailored to the needs of green entrepreneurship.”
The EBAE Stand at European Green Week.
The European Business Awards for the Environment (EBAE) will be present at European Green Week from 3-5 June at the Egg Conference Centre in Brussels. This year Green Week focus is on "Nature capital" and business opportunities stemming from protecting our natural resources.