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Cooperation between Germany and France to reduce CO2 emissions

Reclay Group and Association Bilan Carbone sign cooperation agreement

The press conference on 13 June 2013 in Berlin marked the official launch of the Footprint Initiative, a cooperation between the German Reclay Group and the French organisation Association Bilan Carbone (ABC). 

Head of PR at the Reclay Group, Dorothee Stamm, welcomed the guests and speakers at Hotel Adlon and was delighted to be able to announce that the initiative has received official support from the French Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy. The aim of the cooperation is to pool the expertise in environmental management of the Reclay Group and the Association Bilan Carbone and to provide companies, organisations and public institutions with support for the reduction of CO2 emissions – benefitting both climate protection and the economy. This is achievable by further developing the Bilan Carbone® method, a transnational, uniform method for calculating and managing greenhouse gas emissions. 

The first speaker, Prof. Dr. Heinz Riesenhuber, Member of the Bundestag and former government minister, pointed out that the level of greenhouse gases emitted in Europe is still far too high despite the fact that CO2 emissions are decreasing. An energy transition can only be successfully implemented if the energy systems undergo profound restructuring. Such change necessitates integration of the primary source of greenhouse gas emissions – industry. Focussing on the reduction of CO2 and energy costs must lay the foundations for fulfilling climate goals and long-term, sustainable development. The Chairman of the Advisory Board at the Reclay Group emphasised that the group of companies has been examining the subject of sustainability intensively since it was founded – long before the topic was encountered by the general public.

In his statement, shareholder of the Reclay Group Raffael A. Fruscio explained the reasons for cooperating with the Association Bilan Carbone and emphasised the advantages of sustainable business for companies. Germany is known around the world for its commitment to the development and implementation of norms and standards. For example, the country has played a key role in the development of ISO 50001, which supports companies and organisations in establishing systematic energy management. “However, it has not been possible to implement one, standardised CO2 management system in Germany,” he said. Fruscio also stressed that the concept of sustainability still fails to have gained a sufficiently prominent position in German companies. Far too often, the economy sees climate change and the energy transition as a burden instead of an opportunity. “Effective sustainability strategies increase resource and energy efficiency. In addition to protecting the environment, this ultimately means nothing but lowering costs and thus generating additional profit.” Before people can start to rethink, it must be possible to separate economic growth from the consumption of resources. This is the starting point of the joint initiative. France is a pioneer on the European continent in the calculation and management of CO2 emissions. The Bilan Carbone® method has proven successful over the last ten years and can also create real added value on the German market.

President of the Association Bilan Carbone, Michel Havard, reported on the development of the method and its successful implementation in France. Bilan Carbone® was developed in 2001 by the French Environment and Energy Agency ADEME and is now one of the most frequently used instruments for calculating and managing greenhouse gas emissions around the world. The method has a comprehensive approach. In addition to the pure calculation of direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions, Bilan Carbone® identifies all strategic, energy-related risks and takes this as a basis for an individual reduction plan. The method thus generates considerable economic benefit. “It is the ideal instrument for sustainable corporate management.” Since 2003 Bilan Carbone® has been used more than 7,000 times for the calculation of CO2 emissions.

The final speaker was Julien Colas, project manager for climate protection from the group of companies Saint-Gobain. He reported on their positive experiences with practical application of the method. There are 1300 individual companies operating under the umbrella of the parent company Saint-Gobain – from companies with ten employees to corporations with a staff of several thousand people. Application of the Bilan Carbone® method has enabled the complete CO2 emissions to be calculated for all the business areas in the individual companies, and to generate potential savings. Although the companies under the umbrella of Saint-Gobain have highly differentiated organisational structures, and although they manufacture an extremely wide range of products, it has been possible to introduce the method without any problems. Colas explained: “Special Bilan Carbone® indicators allowed us to create comparability for the first time.” Implementation in Saint-Gobain has also revealed that the method can be applied in companies of all sizes – from small and medium-sized businesses to major corporations.

At the subsequent reception all the speakers were available to answer questions and provide background knowledge.

Further information can be found at www.footprint-initiative.com

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