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Reducing food waste in the European Union

01-12-2020

According to a 2019 report by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), we know surprisingly little about how much food is lost or wasted, where along the food supply chain this happens, and why. Producing food that is not eaten – whether because it is lost in the field or wasted on a plate – not only diminishes the quantity of food available, but is also a waste of economic and environmental resources, FAO states. Around 88 million tonnes of food waste are generated annually in ...

According to a 2019 report by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), we know surprisingly little about how much food is lost or wasted, where along the food supply chain this happens, and why. Producing food that is not eaten – whether because it is lost in the field or wasted on a plate – not only diminishes the quantity of food available, but is also a waste of economic and environmental resources, FAO states. Around 88 million tonnes of food waste are generated annually in the EU alone, with associated costs estimated at €143 billion. To address this issue, an EU Platform on Food Losses and Food Waste was established in 2016. The forum brings together key players seeking to provide help to all those involved in: defining measures to prevent food waste, including at EU level; sharing best practices; and evaluating progress made over time. The European Parliament has consistently backed the reduction of food waste. In its resolution of January 2020 on the European Green Deal, the EP calls for an enforceable EU-wide food waste reduction target of 50 % by 2030, based on a common methodology for measuring food waste. Member States are expected to have started collecting data on food waste in 2020 and to report on national food waste levels by mid-2022. As part of the European Green Deal action plan, the European Commission presented in May 2020 a 'Farm to Fork strategy' aimed at making food systems more sustainable. One of the targets included in the strategy is 'stepping up the fight against food waste', that is, cutting food waste by half with the help of legally binding EU-wide targets by 2023. In this context, the Commission also aims to revise EU rules on date marking in order to take account of consumer research indicating that the meaning of date marking on food products is often misinterpreted or misunderstood.

Towards a more sustainable single market for business and consumers

19-11-2020

Achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, in line with the European Green Deal, will require the EU to overhaul its production and consumption patterns. During the November II plenary session, the European Parliament is expected to vote on an own-initiative report that recommends a possible way forward by making products more durable and easier to repair and recycle, and by providing consumers with more rights and information, so as to nudge them towards more sustainable choices.

Achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, in line with the European Green Deal, will require the EU to overhaul its production and consumption patterns. During the November II plenary session, the European Parliament is expected to vote on an own-initiative report that recommends a possible way forward by making products more durable and easier to repair and recycle, and by providing consumers with more rights and information, so as to nudge them towards more sustainable choices.

RESEARCH FOR PECH COMMITTEE: Impact of the use of offshore wind and other marine renewables on European fisheries

12-11-2020

The study provides an overview of general impacts of the development of offshore wind farms and other marine renewables on the European fishing sector. It further highlights pathways for possible co-existence solutions of both sectors, a description of best practice examples and lessons learnt, the identification of research gaps and last but not least the presentation of policy recommendations.

The study provides an overview of general impacts of the development of offshore wind farms and other marine renewables on the European fishing sector. It further highlights pathways for possible co-existence solutions of both sectors, a description of best practice examples and lessons learnt, the identification of research gaps and last but not least the presentation of policy recommendations.

Autor externo

Vanessa STELZENMÜLLER, Antje GIMPEL, Jonas LETSCHERT, Casper KRAAN, Ralf DÖRING

Palm oil: Economic and environmental impacts

10-11-2020

Economical and versatile, palm oil has become the world's most widely used vegetable oil. Although palm oil can be produced sustainably, rising consumption increases the risk of tropical rainforests being cut down to make way for plantations. Deforestation threatens biodiversity and causes greenhouse gas emissions. In view of this, the EU has revised its biofuels policy to phase out palm oil-based biodiesel by 2030.

Economical and versatile, palm oil has become the world's most widely used vegetable oil. Although palm oil can be produced sustainably, rising consumption increases the risk of tropical rainforests being cut down to make way for plantations. Deforestation threatens biodiversity and causes greenhouse gas emissions. In view of this, the EU has revised its biofuels policy to phase out palm oil-based biodiesel by 2030.

The environmental impacts of plastics and micro-plastics use, waste and pollution: EU and national measures

22-10-2020

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the Committee on Petitions (PETI), focuses on the pervasive use of plastics and reviews the rising consensus on the potential eco-toxicological impacts of these materials, in particular of smaller plastic particles, dubbed microplastics. It discusses possible mitigation strategies aimed at curtailing the prevalence of (micro)plastics, as well as emerging alternatives ...

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the Committee on Petitions (PETI), focuses on the pervasive use of plastics and reviews the rising consensus on the potential eco-toxicological impacts of these materials, in particular of smaller plastic particles, dubbed microplastics. It discusses possible mitigation strategies aimed at curtailing the prevalence of (micro)plastics, as well as emerging alternatives and their environmental adequacy. Propelled by increasing awareness of the impacts of plastics and by public opinion, in recent years a multitude of norms, regulations, laws and recommendations have been proposed and/or implemented. These vary greatly across local, national, regional and international levels, and it is not clear what the beneficial impacts of these tools are. This study assesses these existing instruments, analyses whether they are based on sound scientific data, and discusses foreseeable challenges that could restrain the relevance and suitability of existing and future legislative proposals.

Autor externo

João PINTO DA COSTA (lead author), Teresa ROCHA-SANTOS, Armando C. DUARTE, Department of Chemistry and CESAM, University of Aveiro, Portugal

Sustainable consumption: Helping consumers make eco-friendly choices

21-10-2020

Household consumption in the EU has major environmental impacts, which in a number of cases exceed planetary boundaries. Two thirds of consumers in the EU realise that their consumption habits have negative effects on the environment, and the solution that they mention most often is to change consumption habits and production patterns. However, a number of studies have shown a gap between consumers' good intentions and their actual behaviour. This happens because sustainability is not the only thing ...

Household consumption in the EU has major environmental impacts, which in a number of cases exceed planetary boundaries. Two thirds of consumers in the EU realise that their consumption habits have negative effects on the environment, and the solution that they mention most often is to change consumption habits and production patterns. However, a number of studies have shown a gap between consumers' good intentions and their actual behaviour. This happens because sustainability is not the only thing consumers consider when choosing what to buy; they are also influenced by price, availability and convenience, habits, values, social norms and peer pressure, emotional appeal, and the feeling of making a difference. Consumers also use their consumption patterns to communicate who they are to themselves and to others. Studies on the impacts of consumption show that these are influenced mainly by people's income. The European Union has a number of policies that are relevant for consumers' sustainable choices. These include environmental product requirements, information and labelling requirements, rules on product guarantees, climate legislation that attempts to build the price of CO2 emissions into production expenses, and waste legislation that makes it easier to recycle. The European Commission now plans to add a legislative initiative to empower consumers for the green transition. The European Parliament has long been a supporter of making consumption in the EU more sustainable, and has recently called for measures to ensure that consumers are provided with transparent, comparable and harmonised product information, especially when it comes to the durability and reparability of products and their environmental footprint.

Corporate due diligence and corporate accountability

20-10-2020

This study analyses the potential European Added Value of a measure requiring companies to carry out due diligence on social, environmental and governance risks in their own operations and supply chain. There is evidence of human rights violations and environmental negative impacts related to business activities. This measure could increase firm compliance to international principles of responsible business conduct, increase access to remedy for victims, improve legal certainty and create a level ...

This study analyses the potential European Added Value of a measure requiring companies to carry out due diligence on social, environmental and governance risks in their own operations and supply chain. There is evidence of human rights violations and environmental negative impacts related to business activities. This measure could increase firm compliance to international principles of responsible business conduct, increase access to remedy for victims, improve legal certainty and create a level playing field for businesses. This study reviews possible sources of costs and benefits for companies and, based on original analysis, suggests that stronger environmental and social accountability practices could contribute to improving EU firms' performance. From a qualitative analysis, it suggests a potential significant impact in addressing risks of environmental damages and human rights violations in global value chains, thus supporting EU commitment to human rights and environmental protection.

Regulating digital finance

30-09-2020

The use of new technologies to enable and enhance the activities of the financial sector has the potential to provide significant benefits, including efficiency gains, cost reductions, improved data management and transparency. At the same time, it entails risks in fields such as financial stability, financial crime and consumer protection. These risks may further increase due to the fragmented regulatory landscape in the EU, and uneven global developments in regulating the sector. There is therefore ...

The use of new technologies to enable and enhance the activities of the financial sector has the potential to provide significant benefits, including efficiency gains, cost reductions, improved data management and transparency. At the same time, it entails risks in fields such as financial stability, financial crime and consumer protection. These risks may further increase due to the fragmented regulatory landscape in the EU, and uneven global developments in regulating the sector. There is therefore a need for the EU to create a comprehensive and stable regulatory framework in this area. Parliament is expected to debate a legislative-initiative report with recommendations to the European Commission to act in this area during its October I plenary session.

What if fashion were good for the planet?

10-09-2020

Fashion is the second most polluting industry in the world, coming just after oil. Clothing manufacture and consumption have a huge negative impact on both the environment and people. Sustainability is not only about the environment, but is also an economic and social indicator, and the clothing industry is a good example illustrating their interconnections. Are technological innovations alone enough to 'tailor' a green and fair future for fashion?

Fashion is the second most polluting industry in the world, coming just after oil. Clothing manufacture and consumption have a huge negative impact on both the environment and people. Sustainability is not only about the environment, but is also an economic and social indicator, and the clothing industry is a good example illustrating their interconnections. Are technological innovations alone enough to 'tailor' a green and fair future for fashion?

The European Services Sector and the Green Transition

15-04-2020

The aim of this briefing is to answer the following question: How can the services sector contribute to the green transition, specifically in the digital area and taking into account the environmental footprint of the sector as well as its potential to replace environmentally harmful practices?

The aim of this briefing is to answer the following question: How can the services sector contribute to the green transition, specifically in the digital area and taking into account the environmental footprint of the sector as well as its potential to replace environmentally harmful practices?

Autor externo

Patrik STRÖM

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