Our powerful network showcases success stories and future plans in Brussels

28 May 2013

BRUSSELS: Members of The Climate Group’s States and Regions Alliance and corporate partner network met in Brussels on May 27, to discuss driving the Clean Revolution forward in Europe and beyond, and showcase success stories so far.

Kindly hosted by the Government of North Rhine Westphalia at their Representation to the EU, The Climate Group European Members’ Meeting was an opportunity for high-level networking and collaboration around our latest activities.

Low carbon leaders

The day opened with a closed political session for the States and Regions Alliance members co-chaired by Mark Kenber, CEO, The Climate Group, and Hon. Johannes Remmel, Minister for Climate Protection, Environment, Agriculture, Nature Conservation and Consumer Protection, State of North Rhine-Westphalia. Mark Kenber stressed the importance of strengthening ties between members, to create synergies and demonstrate what the network can do. He explained how The Climate Group will continue to play an active role in communicating what can be achieved, as well as raising the Alliance’s ambitions even further. Minister Remmel reported on the pioneering role of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, the first of 16 German Länders to adopt a Climate Protection Act. He said that other German states could soon follow, clearly proving how sharing such experiences spreads knowledge and pushes policies forward.

Key topics that emerged from the open exchange discussion included devoted discussion around the UN 2015 Climate Negotiations, as well as the urgency to support SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) and create 'support clusters' to collaborate on local climate action. It was also expressed that despite economic challenges, climate change is still a top priority of the network, with the States and Regions members actually increasing their targets and action in the last few years.

Success stories

The second meeting of the day saw each member illustrate a core low carbon achievement through a two-minute presentation. EU DG Climate Action Director General Jos Delbeke kicked off the debate by delivering results of the 2009 EU Climate and Energy Package, as well as new questions posed by the EU's 2020 and 2030 frameworks. He highlighted the success of increasing overall EU GDP while reducing emissions, and directly urged the leaders in the room to drive concrete actions, innovative solutions and ambitious policy making. Delbeke also spotlighted the on-going consultation around the 2030 Green Paper, which is open until July 2, and applauded The Climate Group's work for convening and confronting leaders with questions that are “absolutely important”.

Significantly named “Taking the lead”, the session was a tangible demonstration that the Clean Revolution is underway, outlining the huge benefits that can be gained from a low carbon economy: job creation, competitiveness and growth.

Many success stories were shared from attendees, including from Enric Llebot, Secretary of Environment and Sustainability of Catalonia, who illustrated Catalonia’s Voluntary Agreement Program on organizational carbon footprint, and Director Leyre Madariaga, from the Government of the Basque Country, who presented the Biscay Marine Energy Platform - an ocean infrastructure for research and operation of offshore Wave Energy Converters.

Fellow members showcasing their leading low carbon experiences included: Monica Mireles Serrano, IKEA; Matt Johnson, Government of South Australia; Dr Gerald Lonauer, Government of Upper Austria; Adam McCarthy, Johnson Controls; Mathieu Parenteau, Government of Quebec; Renaud Layadi, Government of Brittany; Ross Loveridge, Government of Scotland; Dominique Perrin, Government of Wallonia; Tilmann Kupfer, BT; Tobias Eisele, Government of Baden-Wuttenberg; Chris Miles, Government of Wales; Michael Loch, Government of Bavaria; and William Parker, Dell.

The presentations gave members the opportunity to share best practices and enter into dialogue around common interests and potential areas for future collaboration.

From Europe to Asia

The afternoon then focused on The Climate Group’s work in the next year, such as our growing engagement in China and India. Changhua Wu, The Climate Group’s Greater China Director, painted a concise portrait of the Chinese scenario after its recent change in leadership and provided an outlook on the "extremely interesting" coming years, as she described how now, in the middle of its 12th Five Year Plan, China is setting specific targets on energy efficiency and renewables.

Pradeep Singh, IFS Deputy Secretary from the Climate Change Department of the Government of Gujarat, illustrated the Indian climate policy context and the role of the Government of Gujarat’s Climate Change Department in acting as a bridge between government, corporates and society to address climate issues.

This session included keynotes from Julian Lageard, Senior Manager for Global Public Policy at Intel, on the ISEP EU project, a working paper about greening government through ICT, as well as David Goatman, Head of Sustainability and Energy Consultancy at Knight Frank LLP, who shared the European Energy Performance of Properties Analysis, a project founded by Climate KIC and aimed at rationalizing – and making more transparent – energy efficiency investment opportunities in Europe. The last keynote for the session was delivered by Harry Verhaar, Head of Global Public & Government Affairs at Philips Lighting, who took the Lighting the Clean Revolution report by The Climate Group and Philips as a starting point to frame the discussion around the benefits of LED city lighting.

Innovating for tomorrow

The day closed with a high level reception anticipating the launch of The EarthHack contest, to be officially presented on May 29 at the B4E Summit. Daniel Perez, CEO of Marblar, shared the new innovation challenge that has been developed in partnership with ourselves, IKEA and Philips. The contest aims to recombine, repurpose or modify existing technologies to create tomorrow’s low carbon solutions – all by crowdsourcing ideas on an online platform.

As Mark Kenber pointed out, innovation – in all its different aspects – has always been a recurring theme in the work of The Climate Group, and its success in innovating business and government for low carbon growth was clearly demonstrated by our network at this key meeting in Brussels.

Photos from the EU Members Meeting


See what else we have planned this year in our Events calendar. We hope you can join us.

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