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Feb 6, 2023

The Green Economy, Green Deal, and the Farm to Fork Strategy and Taxonomy. Read about the latest event on the Green Deal, hosted by the Academy. Article credit: Europe Direct CORE Platform

Europe Direct CORE Platform kicked off 2023 with a face-to-face meeting on 25th January 2023 at 14:00hrs hosted by the Academy of Givers at Bureau Iniala, in Valletta Malta. Our main guest speaker Mr. Martins Zemitis from the Malta European Commission Representation gave a very insightful presentation on “Green Economy” including historical events and insights about how the “Green Deal” came about, the “Farm to Fork Strategy” and “Taxonomy”.

Climate change and environmental degradation are existential threats to Europe and the world. To overcome these challenges, the European Green Deal aims to transform the EU into a modern, resource-efficient, and competitive economy, ensuring 0% net emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050, economic growth decoupled from resource use, and no person and no place left behind.

The European Green Deal is a lifeline out of the COVID-19 pandemic. One-third of the €1.8 trillion investments from the Next Generation EU Recovery Plan, and the EU’s seven-year budget will finance the European Green Deal. The European Commission has adopted a set of proposals to make the EU's climate, energy, transport, and taxation policies fit for reducing net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels.  In order to meet the EU’s climate and energy targets for 2030 and reach the objectives of the European green deal, it is of utmost importance that investments are directed toward sustainable projects and activities. To achieve this, a common language, and a clear definition of what is ‘sustainable’ is needed. This is why the action plan on financing sustainable growth called for the creation of a common classification system for sustainable economic activities, or an “EU taxonomy”.

What is the EU taxonomy? The EU taxonomy is a classification system, establishing a list of environmentally sustainable economic activities. It could play an important role in helping the EU scale up sustainable investment and implement the European green deal. The EU taxonomy would provide companies, investors, and policymakers with appropriate definitions for which economic activities can be considered environmentally sustainable. In this way, it should create security for investors, protect private investors from greenwashing, help companies to become more climate-friendly, mitigate market fragmentation and help shift investments where they are most needed. Taxonomy Regulation and delegated acts were published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 22 June 2020 and entered into force on 12 July 2020. It establishes the basis for the EU taxonomy by setting out 4 overarching conditions that an economic activity must meet to qualify as environmentally sustainable.

The Taxonomy Regulation establishes six environmental objectives.

  1. Climate change mitigation
  2. Climate change adaptation
  3. The sustainable use and protection of water and marine resources
  4. The transition to a circular economy
  5. Pollution prevention and control
  6. The protection and restoration of biodiversity and ecosystems

Different means can be required for an activity to make a substantial contribution to each objective. Under the Taxonomy Regulation, the Commission came up with the actual list of environmentally sustainable activities by defining technical screening criteria for each environmental objective through delegated acts.

Concerns and questions raised during this presentation included: for how long the Maltese Government can further subsidise fuel and energy? When will Malta become less dependent on fossil fuels? Does the infrastructure come first and the private investment after or the other way round? What is stopping Malta from investing and exploiting the vast territorial waters it possesses and harness energy from the sun the waves or the wind?

CORE Platform closed the event by sharing its ongoing project called Project Carbon Green “Promoting a collaborative hybrid work environment for a sustainable future”. Where it is offering a series of training sessions related to hybrid working. This project also discusses which models could be applicable to what projects, creating awareness and giving informative insight for managers and leaders to exploit these working models now that the technology is available. Studies have shown that productivity is unaffected if not increased by hybrid work. This could contribute to several important factors lowering our carbon footprint, from commuting to work, a vast selection of formal work clothing, large office spaces, heating cooling, and parking, all generating a significant carbon footprint whilst not mentioning all the time and expense involved which could be saved and reinvested in the employees or the business growth.

Article credit: Julian Dingli