- European Climate Pact
- Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on energy efficiency amending Regulation (EU) 2023/995
- MICAT – Multiple Impacts Calculation Tool
- Energy efficiency label
- Playing my part
- Energy Efficiency and Demand
- Publications and reports Energy Efficiency
- The Covenant of Mayors Investment Forum
- Covenant of Companies for Climate and Energy
- Sustainable Energy Investment Forums
- The Energy Efficiency Financial Institutions Group (EEFIG)
- BUILD UP Skills
- EU Ecolabel
- Ecodesign Directive
- EU Deforestatation Regulation
- Circular Economy Action Plans
- European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform
- EU Green Public Procurement criteria
European Climate Pact
The European Climate Pact is a movement of people united around a common cause, each taking steps in their own worlds to build a more sustainable Europe. Launched by the European Commission, the Pact is part of the European Green Deal and is helping the EU to meet its goal to become climate-neutral by 2050.
Everyone has a place in the Pact. You can get involved whether you are just starting out on your climate action journey or already working to make a difference in your world. You can take part as an individual or as an organisation – for example, a city, a community or an association.
As part of the European Green Deal, the European Climate Pact initiative was launched in 2020 by the European Commission to bring the challenges and opportunities of the green transition closer to citizens, stakeholders and non-state actors, inform and invite them to engage in climate action, and build support for the transition. The Pact is a platform for a wide range of non-state actors can meet, exchange and share information, examples and good practices on climate action at local level. It aims to involve citizens, groups, local communities, regions, schools and civil society to work and learn together and develop a collective sense for climate action solutions.
The Pact has 3 main objectives:
• Raising awareness about climate change and its pervasive and growing impacts on people’s daily lives;
• Informing citizens of the European Union’s policies, initiatives and support related to responding to climate change;
• Encouraging change by incentivising and empowering people to take climate action in various aspects of their professional and private lives, start or join broader initiatives, and inspire others.
Activities include, among others, a network of volunteer Climate Pact Ambassadors, events and citizens’ dialogues using participatory formats, communication activities and partnerships with a range of stakeholders.
European Climate Pact
Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on energy efficiency amending Regulation (EU) 2023/995
To achieve the 2030 climate target and ensure energy security within the EU, energy efficiency must be prioritised. The amended Energy Efficiency Directive, formally agreed on 24 July 2023, significantly raises the EU’s ambition and places a strong emphasis on energy efficiency. It establishes ‘energy efficiency first’ as a fundamental principle of EU energy policy, recognising its vital role in practical policy applications and investment decision-making.
The revised directive follows a proposal for a recast directive on energy efficiency, put forward by the Commission in July 2021, as part of the package “Delivering on the European Green Deal”. Building on this initiative, the Commission introduced the REPowerEU plan, plan in May 2022, aiming to further enhance ambition and decrease the EU’s dependency on fossil fuel imports from Russia.
The 2023 amending directive raises the level of ambition of the EU energy efficiency target , making it binding for EU countries to collectively ensure an additional 11.7% reduction of energy consumption by 2030, compared to the 2020 reference scenario projections. Recognising the important contribution to be made by energy efficiency measures to the REPowerEU plan, the new 11.7% target surpasses the initial proposal by the Commission in July 2021 of 9%. This additional effort is measured against updated baseline projections from 2020 and aligns with the primary and final energy consumption targets outlined in the Climate Target Plan. As a result, the overall EU energy consumption by 2030 should not exceed 992.5 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe) for primary energy and 763 Mtoe for final energy.
Under the updated rules, EU countries have agreed to help achieve the EU target by setting indicative national contributions using a combination of objective criteria which reflect national circumstances (energy intensity, GDP per capita, energy savings potential and fixed energy consumption reduction). The directive also includes an enhanced “gap-filling mechanism” that will be triggered if countries fall behind in delivering their national contributions.
The recast proposal more than doubles the annual energy savings obligation (in Article 8) by 2028. This is one of the key policy instruments of the directive to meet the headline target. EU countries must achieve an annual saving of 1.3% of final energy consumption by 2024, rising to 1.9% by 2028, up from the 2023t level of 0.8%. This is an important instrument to drive energy savings in end-use sectors such as buildings, industry, and transport.
Another key element is the introduction of a specific mandate for the public sector to achieve an annual energy consumption reduction of 1.9%. This measure aims to enhance the exemplary role of the public sector across a wide range of activities including buildings, transportation, water management, and street lighting. Additionally, EU countries are obligated to annually renovate at least 3% of the total floor area of heated/cooled buildings owned by all levels of public administration. Public bodies are also required to consistently consider energy efficiency requirements when procuring products, services, buildings, and infrastructure projects.
Energy poverty and consumers
The revised directive also puts a stronger focus on alleviating energy poverty and empowering consumers through implementing stronger requirements for raising awareness and providing information. The directive emphasises the creation of one-stop shops, technical and financial advice, and consumer protection via out-of-court mechanisms for the settlement of disputes. Furthermore, it includes improved regulations to identify and remove barriers related to split incentives between tenants and owners or among multiple owners. This helps to promote energy efficiency and encourages collaboration among different parties involved.
To alleviate energy poverty, the changes introduced require EU countries to prioritize energy efficiency improvement measures for vulnerable customers, individuals affected by energy poverty, and those living in social housing. To address any potential negative impacts, the revenue generated from the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) extension to buildings and transport will be used through the newly established Social Climate Fund. Under the energy savings obligation (Article 8), each EU country is responsible for achieving a share of energy savings among vulnerable customers and those affected by energy poverty. The criteria for determining these targets will be defined by each country, allowing flexibility for tailored solutions based on specific needs and circumstances within each country.
The directive also features the following measures
- energy efficiency in the industrial sector, focusing on making the implementation of an energy management system a mandatory requirement for large industrial energy consumers. It also expands the scope of energy audit obligations to include small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
- revised definitions for efficient district heating and cooling, efficient cogeneration, and improved interlinkage with Article 27 have been implemented to ensure a fully decarbonised heating or cooling supply in efficient systems by 2050. Additionally, regular assessment of schemes guarantees the technical competencies of energy services providers, energy auditors, energy managers, and installers, aligning them with market needs and enforcing clearer and stricter requirements for necessary competencies
-promote energy performance contracting, with a focus on large public-owned building. Assess the feasibility of performance-based energy services, including energy performance contracts, for non-residential building renovations with usable floor-space above 750m2
mandate EU countries to report on energy efficiency investments, including energy performance contracts, as part of the Governance Regulation, ensuring transparency and accountability
-establish project development assistance mechanisms at national, regional, and local levels to support energy efficiency investments and facilitate the attainment of ambitious energy efficiency targets
Council and Parliament strike deal on energy efficiency directive - Consilium
MICAT – Multiple Impacts Calculation Tool
MICAT – Multiple Impacts Calculation Tool – is a project that aims to develop a comprehensive approach to estimate Multiple Impacts of Energy Efficiency (MI-EE) by co-creating a free, easy-to-use, scientifically sound online tool (MICATool). The MICATool will enable holistic analyses of MI-EE at the European, national and local levels to strengthen the climate strategy of the Energy Union and accelerate an affordable and just sustainable energy transition by addressing the challenges and needs of important target groups: policy makers, practitioners and evaluators.
The MICATool seeks to enable policy-makers and practitioners to conduct simplified analyses for different data and policy scenarios, in order to compare and assess the relevance of the multiple impacts, and strengthen reporting and monitoring at the three governance levels. This can be used to report on target progress at the EU level, for Integrated National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs) or other reporting requirements at national levels, as well as in local reporting on energy efficiency within Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plans (SECAPs).
There is still significant potential to improve energy efficiency within all sectors and levels where measures can be applied. In the face of the often cited “energy efficiency gap”, even the profitable potential is not fully exploited. By highlighting the additional value of energy efficiency measures and investments, Multiple Impacts could help close this gap and facilitate better energy-relevant decisions and policy-making.
MICAT’s methodological approach builds on existing concepts for quantifying energy efficiency impacts and the role of the Multiple Impacts of EE. Previous research has revealed that a wide range of impacts occur in tandem with an increase in energy efficiency when energy efficiency measures are implemented. They can be categorised into three main categories: social (health benefits or poverty alleviation), environmental (energy savings and reduced GHG emissions) and economic impacts (positive macro-economic impacts on economic growth, employment, innovation and competitiveness). The assessment of Multiple Impacts of EE measures within MICAT will also follow these categories.
The development of the MICATool can only be done properly in cooperation with experts, policy makers, representatives of public administrations and institutions, universities and institutes, businesses and civil society. Involving interested stakeholders in the development activities of MICATool will ensure that the results being created are not only credible, but also relevant, legitimate, and useful for informing further policymaking at all three levels. Moreover, engaging users from the beginning generates trust between stakeholders and with the tool itself, as the MICAT team will be able to tailor the MICATool to the users’ needs while simultaneously providing trainings to exploit the tool to its full potential.
The engagement process will provide feedback to the developing team on all steps of the MICATool within three major moment of exchange:
Step 1: Embedding of the analysis in the energy & climate strategy (scenarios/policies) – November ‘21
Step 2: Analysis of underlying assumptions and methodology of the MICATool – Autumn ‘22
Step 3: Implementation of the MICATool & trainings – Summer ‘23
To date, Steps 1 and 2 have been carried out at all levels, with progress being made towards Step 3.
MICAT - Startseite
Energy efficiency label
The EU energy labelling and ecodesign legislation helps improve the energy efficiency of products on the EU market.
Ecodesign sets common EU wide minimum standards to eliminate the least performing products from the market. The energy labels provide a clear and simple indication of the energy efficiency and other key features of products at the point of purchase. This makes it easier for consumers to save money on their household energy bills and contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions across the EU.
The EU legislation for energy labels and ecodesign has been estimated to bring energy savings of approximately 230 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe) by 2030. For consumers, this means an average saving of up to €285 per year on their household energy bills. Moreover, energy efficiency measures will create €66 billion in extra revenue for European companies.
First introduced for a number of household appliances in 1994 and subsequently expanded in 2004 – with a comparative scale from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient) - the EU energy label has been a key driver for helping consumers choose products which are more energy efficient. At the same time, it also encourages manufacturers to drive innovation by using more energy efficient technologies.
In 2019, the energy label was recognised by 93% of consumers and 79% considered it when buying energy efficient products, according to the Special Eurobarometer 492.
Manufacturers are keen to see their energy-labelled products in the highest available category when compared to competitors. Therefore, it is likely that manufacturers who sell appliances in the less efficient classes aim to improve their rating to position their products within the highest category. For example, roughly two-thirds of refrigerators and washing machines sold in 2006 were labelled as class A, whereas over 90% of those sold in 2017 were labelled A+, A++ or A+++.
In addition to information about the product’s energy consumption, the labels can also provide specific data about other relevant features of usage, such as the product’s noise emissions or water consumption.
A new generation of labels
As a result of the development of more and more energy efficient products, and because the difference between A++ and A+++ is less obvious to the consumer, the EU energy labels categories will be gradually adjusted to reintroduce the simpler A to G scale. For example, a product showing an A+++ energy efficiency class could become a class B or lower after rescaling without any change in its energy consumption. The class A will initially be empty to leave room for more energy efficient models to be developed.
This will enable consumers to distinguish more clearly between the most energy efficient products. At the same time, it is meant to encourage manufacturers to continue research and innovation into more energy efficient technologies. An article that further explains the new generation of EU energy labels was published on 16 February 2021.
The following 5 product groups were 'rescaled' in 2021. Other product groups carrying EU energy labels will follow in the coming years.
Fridges and freezers
Washing machines and washer-dryers
Electronic displays including televisions
The final format and visual identity of the new labels for the above product groups and for ‘refrigerating appliances with a direct sales function’ were adopted by the Commission on 11 March 2019.
The EU countries, with the support of the European Commission, will inform citizens about the changes the new EU energy labels will bring through dedicated communication campaigns. In addition, 2 Horizon 2020 funded projects, LABEL2020 and Boost Energy Label Take up (BELT), will promote and support a smooth market transition of the new energy labels.
Guidance for manufacturers and retailers
A guidance note on the labels rescaling and transition periods is available since June 2020.
In addition, from 1 January 2019, suppliers (manufacturers, importers or authorised representatives) have to upload information about their products into the European Product Registry for Energy Labelling (EPREL) before placing these products on the European market. Consumers have been able to search the database for energy labels and product information sheets as of March 2021 for the first rescaled product categories.
There is worldwide demand for more efficient products to reduce the consumption of energy and other natural resources in line with improving overall sustainability.
The EU legislation on ecodesign is an effective tool for improving the environmental performance of products by setting mandatory minimum standards for their energy efficiency. This eliminates the least performing products from the market, significantly contributing to the EU’s energy and climate targets. Ecodesign also supports industrial competitiveness and innovation by promoting better environmental performance of products throughout the internal market.
On 1 October 2019, 10 measures were adopted by the Commission for the product categories listed below:
washing machines and washer-driers
refrigerators with a direct sales function
external power supplies
8 of these measures revise existing requirements, whereas refrigerators with a direct sales function and welding equipment are regulated for the first time.
Reparability and recyclability
An important change in the above-mentioned ecodesign rules, which started to fully apply in 2021, is the inclusion of elements to further enhance the reparability and recyclability of appliances.
Several of the new measures include requirements, such as making spare parts more easily replaceable, and ensuring that key parts and repair and maintenance information are available for end users and professional repairers as appropriate, for a minimum duration of 7-10 years depending on the product. The changed ecodesign rules for washing machines, dishwashers, fridges and freezers, and electronic displays took effect on 1 March 2021.
Ecodesign for sustainable products
On 30 March 2022, the Commission proposed a new Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation for more environmentally sustainable and circular products. It was published together with the Ecodesign and energy labelling working plan 2022-2024, which covers new energy-related products and updates and increases the ambition for products that are already regulated, as a transitionary measure until the new regulation enters into force.
About the energy label and ecodesign
Playing my part
The International Energy Agency (IEA) and the European Commission outlined on 21 April 2022 a range of simple steps that citizens can take to reduce their energy use and save money, and that would save enough oil to fill 120 super tankers and enough natural gas to heat almost 20 million homes if adopted by all. These actions, designed to help Ukraine by cutting the EU’s reliance on Russian fuel and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, were presented and discussed by IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol and European Commission Director-General for Energy Ditte Juul Jørgensen during a live-streamed virtual event
Turn down heating and air conditioning
The average heating temperature within homes across the European Union is over 22 °C, but many could comfortably accommodate 19 °C or 20 °C. Turning down the thermostat in your home by just 1 °C would save around 7% of the energy you use for heating. For every degree you lower the heating on average, you could cut more than EUR 70 from your annual energy bill. If you live in a building with a centralised heating system, you can work with neighbours and building managers to explore the possibility of turning down the temperature of the communal boiler.
Setting your air conditioner 1 °C warmer could reduce the amount of electricity used by almost 10% and save you EUR 20 a year. You can also reduce heating and air conditioning temperatures when rooms are not in use or adjust the temperature according to the type of room (you don’t need to have the same temperature in your bedroom and bathroom, for example).
Adjusting the thermostat not only makes a difference in homes but in all types of buildings – companies and public institutions should also consider applying this measure in offices.
Adjust boilers' setting
In many homes and workplaces, default settings on boilers can often be adjusted to increase efficiency and save up to 8% of the energy used to heat rooms and water if you have a condensing boiler. Setting up your boiler properly could save around EUR 100 each year. If you don’t know how to do it, consult your boiler’s manual or ask for advice during the annual servicing of your boiler.
Work from home
Commuting accounts for around a quarter of the oil used by cars in the European Union, and the average one-way car commute is around 15 kilometres. However, more than a third of jobs in the European Union could be done from home. Teleworking should be encouraged by employers: every time you work from home, you save money and avoid burning fuel. If your job allows it, working at home three days a week could reduce your household fuel bill by around EUR 35 a month, even after taking into account the increased energy use at home.
Use the car economically
Most car trips in the European Union are made with just a single occupant. Pooling your car journeys with neighbours, friends or colleagues saves fuel and money. Setting your car’s air conditioning 3 °C warmer will also immediately improve the car’s fuel economy. These combined actions could save your household around EUR 100 per year.
Reduce speed on highways
Driving too fast is inefficient for the car engine and wastes fuel. The average car in the European Union clocks up around 13 000 kilometres a year. By reducing your average cruising speed on motorways by 10 kilometres an hour, you could cut your household fuel bill by around EUR 60 a year.
Leave your car at home on Sundays
Cities should promote car-free Sundays and do them often. Car-free Sundays are already a regular fixture in many countries and cities. Brussels, Edinburgh, Milan, Paris have all used them to promote public health, community-oriented spaces and cultural events. More than 3 000 towns and cities registered for the European Mobility Week in 2021, which included a commitment to a car-free day. If you live in a large city, leaving your car at home every Sunday could save your household EUR 100 a year.
Walk or bike short journeys
Leaving your car at home for short journeys, especially if it is a large car, saves a significant amount of fuel. On average, around a third of car journeys in the European Union are less than 3 kilometres. By using other means of transport, you’ll help reduce air pollution and congestion in your area and potentially improve your health. And you can save money – over EUR 55 per household every year potentially – by walking, cycling or using micromobility (such as an electric scooter) for short journeys. Fourteen EU countries have at least one tax-incentive or purchase subsidy for bikes or electric bikes.
Use public transport
If you can commute to work on public transport rather than driving your car, it’s worth doing so to reduce oil consumption. The spare capacity on public transport during peak travel periods differs depending on the system, and on the country and city. However, there is typically spare capacity in off‐peak periods that can be used to “spread out” the peak if employers allow flexible working hours. Public authorities can play an important role through temporary incentives to reduce fares for public buses, metro systems and light rail.
Skip plane and take the train
For distances under 1 000 km, high-speed trains provide a high-quality substitute for flying. Consider taking a train rather than a plane whenever practical and affordable. Employers should encourage train journeys instead of short-haul flights for employees’ business travel or promote virtual meetings instead of travelling. Night trains are an option for travelling even longer distances and have the advantage of spreading traffic across different times of the day. Based on existing high-speed rail infrastructure, just under 5% of plane journeys in the European Union could be done by train instead, including both leisure and business travel.
Energy Efficiency and Demand
The evolution of energy efficiency policy to support clean energy transitions
Using energy more efficiently has proven to be an extremely successful and cost-effective way to reduce energy demand. Highly developed and well proven policy instruments already exist to deliver increased energy efficiency, such as Ecodesign in Europe and Japan’s Top Runner. These policy tools can also support fuel switching and better demand management, helping to integrate higher volumes of variable electricity supply.
Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, as part of Japan’s Presidency of the G7, asked the International Energy Agency (IEA) to examine the evolution of energy efficiency policy in the context of the clean energy transitions. The aim is to support discussions among G7 countries to provide insights and direction for the G7 energy and climate agenda.
The report outlines how traditional energy efficiency policy is evolving to address system-wide energy efficiency aspects such as grid flexibility and decarbonisation.
It provides insights into policy developments in major economies and presents the possible impacts from transforming energy efficiency regulations, with examples in three main sectors:
Demand flexibility in appliances and buildings.
Vehicle fuel economy standards.
Industrial energy and carbon reporting.
Energy Efficiency and Demand - Energy System - IEA
Publications and reports Energy Efficiency
CINEA's mission is to support stakeholders in delivering the European Green Deal through high-quality programme management. Horizon 2020 Energy Efficiency supports innovation and market uptake measures for more energy-efficient technologies and solutions
Horizon Europe is the EU's ambitious research and innovation programme for 2021-2027, with a budget of €95.5 billion. CINEA runs parts of the programme.
LIFE Clean Energy Transition sub-programme
Building on the success of the Intelligent Energy Europe (2003-2013) and Horizon 2020 Energy Efficiency (2014-2020) programmes, the LIFE Clean Energy Transition sub-programme continues to support the delivery of EU policies in the field of sustainable energy, in particular, the European Green Deal, the Energy Union (2030 energy and climate targets) and the European Union’s 2050 long-term decarbonisation strategy.
The LIFE Clean Energy Transition sub-programme has a budget of nearly EUR 1 billion over the period of 2021-2027 and aims at facilitating the transition towards an energy-efficient, renewable energy-based, climate-neutral and -resilient economy by funding coordination and support actions (Other Action Grants) across Europe. These are actions of high EU added-value, which are targeted at breaking market barriers that hamper the socio-economic transition to sustainable energy, and typically engage multiple small and medium-sized stakeholders, multiple actors including local and regional public authorities and non-profit organisations, as well as consumers.
Projects are co-financed under the LIFE Clean Energy Transition sub-programme in the following five areas of intervention:
Building a national, regional and local policy framework supporting the clean energy transition;
Accelerating technology roll-out, digitalisation, new services and business models and enhancement of the related professional skills on the market;
Attracting private finance for sustainable energy;
Supporting the development of local and regional investment projects;
Involving and empowering citizens in the clean energy transition.
Publications and reports Energy Efficiency
The Covenant of Mayors Investment Forum
The Covenant of Mayors Investment Forum – Energy Efficiency Finance Market Place is the largest event of its kind in Europe, showcasing successful projects on financing energy efficiency, climate adaptation and innovative energy planning, as well as initiatives working across Europe to facilitate the market for climate and sustainable energy finance. The conference brings together cities, financial institutions and other actors to exchange on good practices and successful solutions to common challenges.
The 2022 edition of the Covenant of Mayors Investment Forum – Energy Efficiency Finance MarketPlace took place on 18 October 2022 in Brussels. It gathered over 400 participants – with more than 250 attendees onsite – who learnt about successful and concrete initiatives on innovative energy planning, adaptation solutions in European cities and regions, mobilising investments into energy efficiency and renewable energy in the public sector and boosting energy efficiency investment in residential and commercial buildings.
The event was jointly organised by the European Commission’s Directorates-General for Energy and Climate Action, and the European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA), in close collaboration with the Covenant of Mayors initiative.
CoM IF EEFMP 2022 presented the key role of cities and regions in the clean energy transition and climate adaptation by showcasing successful and pioneer initiatives in dedicated sessions, encouraging peer-to-peer learning and replication across Europe.
Mr Dirk Beckers – Director of CINEA – welcomed the participants and highlighted the need to accelerate investments into sustainable energy and climate adaptation in cities and regions, particularly in these times of energy crisis. Following Mr Beckers’ opening words, Ms Clara de la Torre (Deputy Director General of DG Clima) highlighted the role of the EU’s Missions on Adaptation to Climate Change and on Climate Neutral and Smart cities to support communities in transition. Mr Matthew Baldwin (Deputy Director General of DG Energy) presented the different measures set out under the RePowerEU, which aims at reducing the EU’s dependence on Russian fossil fuels, and the role of cities and regions to achieve its goals. Ms Tanya Histrova, Mayor of Gabrovo in Bulgaria and Covenant of Mayors Ambassador, called for decision-makers to provide the tools and instruments to support cities and regions, anchored in well-designed multi-level governance structures. Finally, Mr Thomas Östros, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank, reaffirmed the commitment of the EIB to support the green transition in Europe, for instance through the ELENA initiative.
15 projects and initiatives. Three thematic strands
15 successful projects - financed through programmes such as Horizon 2020, LIFE Clean Energy Transition, LIFE Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation and ELENA - were presented by practitioners to their peers. Those projects showcased their results in the areas of innovative energy planning and climate change adaptation solutions in European cities and regions, in mobilising investments into energy efficiency and renewable energy in the public sector and in boosting energy efficiency investment in residential and commercial buildings. The projects and initiatives were grouped under three different strands: Cities and Regions driving change: innovative energy planning and climate change adaptation solutions; Public sector mobilizing sustainable energy investments; and Emerging approaches to boost energy efficiency investments in residential and commercial buildings.
The Covenant of Mayors Investment Forum
Covenant of Companies for Climate and Energy
The Covenant of Companies for Climate and Energy (CCCE) is a new pilot initiative led by the European Commission (DG Energy) to encourage and support European companies, in particular small and medium enterprises (SMEs), to step up their contribution to a clean energy transition and climate action and increase private investments in clean energy Research & Innovation (R&I), technologies and solutions.
Businesses can make a pledge with the CCCE whereby they commit to taking action to reduce their carbon emissions. There are four possible levels of commitment which reflect where companies are on their journey to decarbonisation.
Whatever the commitment, companies will receive practical, step-by-step guidance and technical assistance to help them take concrete action to decarbonise their businesses. They will also save on their energy bills and receive recognition for their efforts.
The Covenant of Companies for Climate and Energy is a new pilot initiative from the European Commission, seeking to help European companies to transition to the net zero economy.
The Covenant aims to be a community of companies and supporting entities who have made a pledge to reduce their fossil energy footprint.
In English common law, a ‘covenant’ is distinguished from a standard contract by the presence of a wax seal on the agreement, symbolising the elevated sincerity of the commitment of the parties to the covenant.
Our mission statement is quite simple: it is to help companies and numerous supporting entities to decarbonise their energy footprint, by guiding them to define and then implement emissions reduction goals that are manageable, attainable and aligned with their level of ambition.
Companies committing to the Covenant will be eligible to receive a wide range of support from the Covenant’s secretariat, including bespoke Technical Assistance and a variety of advisory services. Upon committing to the Covenant, entities will be added to the virtual Covenant of Companies community, where they can interact with one another, receive the latest updates from the secretariat and submit their reporting documents on progress made towards their individual commitments. Companies will also be granted a “Seal of Approval” to certify that they have taken action to decarbonise, which they can use in their communications efforts to highlight their commitment.
Covenant of Companies for Climate and Energy
Sustainable Energy Investment Forums
Since its launch, the SEI forum initiative has cooperated closely with the Energy Efficiency Financial Institutions Group (EEFIG), which facilitates dialogue between the financial sector, public authorities and all stakeholders involved in delivering investments in sustainable energy at EU and national levels.
A series of SEI forum events have been organised across Europe, and online, since 2017. The conferences and roundtables allow national stakeholders to engage and work together on the implementation of EU policies for energy efficiency. The webinars, featuring experts of sustainable energy finance, provides in-depth information on specific topics and are open to all interested.
The Energy Efficiency Financial Institutions Group (EEFIG)
In February 2015, the Energy Efficiency Financial Institutions Group (EEFIG) published the landmark report 'Energy Efficiency – the first fuel of the EU Economy' which provided a significant advance in the understanding and knowledge about the issues of energy efficiency financing.
The findings of the EEFIG Report has contributed to actions such as G20 commitments and the European Commission has taken the report in full consideration for the implementation and development of energy efficiency related policies over the past five years. It contains recommendations on a range of actions that could help overcome the current challenges to scaling-up long-term financing towards energy efficiency. Recommendations are directed towards government at the national and EU level and towards the financial community, in particular.
The EEFIG Report highlights that:
-Energy efficiency investments are strategically important for the European Union
-Historic levels of public-private collaboration are required
-Lack of evidence on the performance of some energy efficiency investments make the benefits and the financial risk more difficult to assess
-Lack of commonly agreed procedures and standards for energy efficiency investment underwriting increases transaction costs
The Energy Efficiency Financial Institutions Group (EEFIG)
BUILD UP Skills
BUILD UP Skills is a strategic initiative initiated by the European Commission in 2011 under the Intelligent Energy Europe programme. The primary aim of the initiative has been to increase the number of trained and qualified building professionals across Europe to deliver building renovations offering high-energy performance as well as new nearly zero-energy buildings.
BUILD UP Skills has been supported through open calls for proposals under Horizon 2020 and now under the LIFE Clean Energy Transition programme. It is currently managed by the EU Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA).
BUILD UP Skills | BUILD UP
The EU Ecolabel helps consumers, retailers and business make truly sustainable choices.
Launched in 1992, the EU Ecolabel logo has become a byword for quality while meeting the highest environmental standards. It means products (goods and services) displaying the iconic "EU flower" symbol meet all the criteria, including resource efficiency, guaranteeing that products are durable and easy to repair/recycle, minimising the use of harmful chemicals, as well as emissions into air and water.
The EU Ecolabel is a world-renowned, voluntary scheme promoting goods and services that clearly demonstrate environmental excellence, based on standardised processes and scientific evidence.
How the EU Ecolabel works is set out in the official Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council. It is managed by the European Commission and Member States according to the priorities established in the Strategic Working Plan for the EU Ecolabel.
EU Ecolabel is the only EU-wide ISO 14024 Type I ecolabelling scheme. Recognised throughout Europe, it is multi-criteria and tackles the main environmental impacts of products along their full lifecycle, from extraction of raw material to disposal.
The EU Ecolabel is third-party verified, which means independent experts are responsible for checking compliance with the EU Ecolabel criteria.
The Ecodesign Directive provides consistent EU-wide rules for improving the environmental performance of products, such as household appliances, information and communication technologies or engineering. The directive sets out minimum mandatory requirements for the energy efficiency of these products. This helps prevent creation of barriers to trade, improve product quality and environmental protection.
Ecodesign, complemented by energy labelling rules, supports the Commission's overarching priority to strengthen Europe’s competitiveness and boost job creation and economic growth; it ensures a level playing field in the internal market, drives investment and innovation in a sustainable manner, and saves money for consumers while reducing CO2 emissions. The Ecodesign and Energy Labelling legislative framework has the dual purpose of ensuring that more energy-efficient products come to the market (through ecodesign) while encouraging and empowering consumers to buy the most efficient products based on useful information (through energy labelling). By doing so, it reduces the energy consumption of consumers and businesses, and thereby their energy and utilities bills. Furthermore, it safeguards the internal market and prevents unnecessary costs for business and consumers due to divergent national requirements.
Sustainable product policy & ecodesign
EU Deforestatation Regulation
The EU's new Deforestation Regulation requires companies trading in cattle, cocoa, coffee, oil palm, rubber, soya and wood, as well as products derived from these commodities, to conduct extensive diligence on the value chain to ensure the goods do not result from recent (post 31 December 2020) deforestation, forest degradation or breaches of countries national laws. The the new rules will start to apply from 30 December 2024.
By promoting the consumption of ‘deforestation-free’ products and reducing the EU’s impact on global deforestation and forest degradation, the new Regulation on deforestation-free products is expected to bring down greenhouse gas emissions and biodiversity loss.
The Regulation is part of a broader plan of actions to tackle deforestation and forest degradation first outlined in the 2019 Commission Communication on Stepping up EU Action to Protect and Restore the World’s Forests. This commitment was later confirmed by the European Green Deal, the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 and the Farm to Fork Strategy.
Regulation on deforestation-free products
Circular Economy Action Plans
In 2015, the European Commission adopted its first Circular Economy Action Plan. It included measures to help stimulate Europe's transition towards a circular economy, boost global competitiveness, foster sustainable economic growth and generate new jobs. Building on the work done since 2015, a new Circular Economy Action Plan was adopetd in 2020, focusing on increasing circularity and decreasing the environmental impact of each stage of products' value chains, with the aim to ensure that the resources used are kept in the EU economy for as long as possible. Product policies contained in these Action Plans are contributing, among others, to the EU GHG emission reduction objectives.
The 2015 Action Plan established concrete and ambitious actions, with measures covering the whole life cycle: from production and consumption to waste management and the market for secondary raw materials and a revised legislative proposal on waste. By 2019, the first circular economy action plan was fully completed. Its 54 actions have been delivered, even if the work on some of them continues beyond 2019. The actions under the action plan contributed to accelerate Europe’s transition by helping "close the loop" of product lifecycles through, among others, greater recycling and re-use, and bought benefits for both the environment and the economy. The 2020 Action Plan builds and furthers the work done since 2015 by introducing new measures addressing the envrionmental impact of each stage of products' lifecycle, from the design through the production and consumption phase until the end-of-life stage, with the aim to ensure that the resources used are kept in the EU economy for as long as possible. It put forward measures on: making sustainable products the norm in the EU; empowering consumers; focus on the sectors that use the most resources and where the potential for circularity is high; and ensure less waste.
First circular economy action plan
European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform
The European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform is a joint initiative of the European Commission and the European Economic and Social Committee. It aims to bring together Europe's main players in the realm of circular economy and to be a platform for exchange and development.
The Platform's website gathers news and events in the circular economy realm in the EU, with content ranging from local initiatives on waste or product design to policy supporting publications. The Coordination Group of the Platofrm represents the key circular economy players in the EU and enables and implements change through its work plan of activities, showing how synergies can accelerate the transition.
Homepage | European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform
EU Green Public Procurement criteria
The EU has been publishing voluntary Green Public Procurement criteria. These allow public bodies to procure goods, services and works with a reduced environmental impact throughout their life cycle more easily.
The basic concept of GPP relies on having clear, verifiable, justifiable, and ambitious environmental criteria for products and services, based on a life-cycle approach and scientific evidence base.. While GPP is a voluntary instruments and Members States are able to determine the extent to which policies or criteria are applied, it plays a key role in the EU's efforts to boosting a resource-efficient economy.
Green Public Procurement