At the 4 You youth hostel in Munich, the mattresses are made of natural
materials, the meals are made from 80% organic or fair trade food and the cleaning
products contain biodegradable chemicals. “4 You buys environmentally friendly
supplies,” says manager Rudi Schäfer. 4 You is also a community project: its
staff members are young, and half of them are on employment integration schemes.
Renovations subsidised by the city council. The idea of an international
ecological youth hostel was launched in 1992 by members of the association Förderverein
Internationales Jugendgästehaus. The project was given financial backing by
the Munich city council’s labour and economic development department, which
subsidised two paid positions within the association from 1992 to 1995. Once
the youth hostel had opened in 1995, another association, Paritätischer Wohlfahrtsverband,
took over the management of the project. The city council then provided funding
of 4 million Deutschmarks over two years (about 715,000 euros) for the renovation
of the building, equating to 39% of the cost. It was agreed that if, during
the term of the lease, 4 You failed to fulfil the (ecological and employment
integration) objectives set, it would pay back this funding. At present, 70%
of its 208 beds are occupied all year long. It provides accommodation for nearly
27,000 people each year.
400 kg for a return trip from Paris to Berlin, 3,980 kg for Paris-New
York and 5,920 kg for Paris-Beijing: these are the volumes of carbon dioxide
(CO2) discharged into the atmosphere during those flights. This information
is available free of charge on the website
www.atmosfair.de. “In order to avoid exacerbating climate change, each individual
should discharge less than 3,000 kg of CO2 into the atmosphere each year,” says
Dietrich Brockhagen, leader of the Atmosfair project within the NGO Germanwatch.
Voluntary fines. Internet surfers who wish to do so can pay a “fine”
used to fund energy savings projects in Southern countries. Medium-haul flights
in Europe carry a fixed fine of 8 euros. The fine rises to 70 euros for a Paris-New
York flight, and 200 euros for a Paris-Sydney flight. These figures are calculated
on the basis of the number of tonnes of CO2 discharged, the number of passengers
per flight and the cost of the energy savings project. Since the site was opened
to the public in June 2004, nearly 3,000 people have paid fines averaging 30
euros. Two projects have already been funded: one producing electricity from
waste in Brazil, and another replacing oil cookers with cookers fuelled by solar
panels in India.
Germanwatch has received funding of 210,000 euros from the Federal Ministry
for the Environment for the development of tools such as the calculator. The
initiative is also supported by the Forumandersreisen (Travelling Differently
Forum), which brings together about a hundred solidarity-based tourism operators.
“36 members of our network have already talked to their clients about paying
fines,” says Roland Streicher, Chair of the Forum.
In order to publicise more effectively the vast number of green tourism
initiatives in Germany an “umbrella brand” has been created to market them jointly
under the same banner. This is a project the Federal Environment Agency, a scientific
body attached to the Ministry of the Environment, has supported since 1999.
Environmental management. In 2004 the Viabono seal of approval – created
in 2001 – was awarded to nearly 200 initiatives based on principles such as
eco-tourism and the discovery of local products. Marketed over the Internet
by the Viabono company, based in North Rhine-Westphalia, this project is subsidised
by the Ministry of the Environment. Tourism products are identified chiefly
through networks such as the Forumandersreisen, the German Youth Hostel Federation
and the German Cyclists’ Association. They are selected on the basis of 11 criteria,
such as the use of local products, environmentally friendly energy and waste
management and landscape quality. Regular monitoring visits are conducted. Members
may be excluded if they fail to comply with the requirements. This initiative
is to expand to Hungary.
What if the industrial system operated as a loop, as natural eco-systems
do, with the by-products of some processes serving as resources for others?
This would make it possible to limit wastage of energy and raw materials, and
to reduce the production of greenhouse gases. The most advanced demonstration
of this principle of industrial ecology is found in Denmark, in the port of
Numerous partners. At the centre of Kalundborg’s industrial symbiosis
is the country’s largest power station, Asnaesverker. Nearby is a Statoil oil
refinery. The latter supplies waste water to cool the power station, which sells
steam to the refinery, as well as, amongst others, to the biotechnology company
Novo Nordisk and the Kalundborg municipal council, for heating. 19 such exchanges
have been implemented as part of the symbiosis initiative, reducing oil consumption
by 20,000 tonnes per year, and water consumption by 2.9 cubic metres. This has
greatly reduced waste production and greenhouse gas emissions.
About twenty eco-industrial parks along these lines were set up in the United
States in the 1990s. Canada has about ten such parks. Europe has one in the
port of Rotterdam. At present, however, none of the others features such systematic
exchanges as those found in the Danish model.
Role of public authorities. The Kalundborg symbiosis initiative was
set up thirty years ago as a result of spontaneous exchanges, initially without
a great deal of public assistance. Such assistance is necessary in order to
develop this kind of project, however, in the form of direct or indirect funding.
In Kalundborg, for instance, the municipality’s heating is supplied by the symbiosis,
even though this ecological option entails additional costs for residents. In
the United States, the prime movers in the various projects have often been
companies, although most of the American eco-industrial parks received substantial
federal aid under Bill Clinton, which explains their rapid development.
Lastly, public authorities also help to reduce transaction costs by making available
the infrastructure essential to industrial ecosystems, or by stimulating dialogue
among the various players, which is one of the keys to success. In Grande-Synthe,
France’s first industrial ecology project, the municipality had initially been
a driving force before a change of political leadership withdrew its involvement
More than 15 countries have implemented the Global Action Plan (GAP), sponsored
by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), in one of their regions.
In 2004, it was launched in the Basque Country by the GAP Spain association,
in the comarca (intermunicipal entity) of Bajo Deba and the Urdaibai biosphere
reserve, classified by UNESCO as a “protected area” owing to its ecological
wealth, including its oak forests. This project is part of the regional sustainable
development strategy pursued by the government of the Basque autonomous community.
Changing day-to-day behaviour. The GAP programme sets out to educate
local residents about protecting the environment by changing their day-to-day
behaviour. Between December 2003 and March 2004, participating households received
four handbooks, one a month, covering four areas: water, energy, transport and
household waste. For instance, people are advised to use their own bags for
shopping rather than the plastic bags distributed at the checkout, and to limit
the length of showers to two minutes. Each handbook came with a questionnaire
enabling GAP Spain to evaluate the action taken within households.
6,214 questionnaires. A project monitoring committee was set up. It
was made up of one member of each of the bodies involved: the Gipuzkoa and Bizkaia
provincial authorities, Debegesa (the state-owned company responsible for sustainable
development in the comarca of Bajo Deba), the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve Foundation,
the Basque government and Ihobe (the state-owned company responsible for environmental
management in the Basque Country).
8% of households in the two areas applied to take part in the programme. A total
of 6,214 questionnaires were returned, representing 54% of the households involved.
By the end of the programme, participants had reduced their CO2 emissions by
an average of 15%, their domestic energy consumption by 17% and their water
consumption by 7%. In particular, the association noted that 38% of participants
had reduced the length of their showers to two minutes. In addition, 60% of
the households stated that they continued to follow the guidelines in the handbooks
once the programme had ended.
In Spain, a similar programme has been implemented with clients of the Santander
Central Hispano bank, and GAP Spain is discussing the possibility of carrying
out such a programme with Ave-Renfe (the state-owned company that manages the
high-speed train network) and the autonomous community of Castilla La Mancha.
The Andalusian Bicycle Pact is a manifesto that commits signatories to
developing policies to promote bicycle use in their areas. Private individuals,
associations and institutions are encouraged to join in order to create momentum
across Andalusia. The pact is part of the Co-operation Agreement for the Promotion
of Sustainable Mobility. The latter was signed in 2002 by four associations,
including A Contramano (a Seville cyclists’ association), Plataforma Carril-Bici
(a Cordoba platform promoting cycle lanes) and the Federación Ecologistas en
Acción (Ecologists in Action Federation), together with the environmental education
department within the Andalusia executive (Junta). This project received funding
of 30,000 euros from the Junta in 2003-2004, shared with other environmental
education programmes, and 14,400 euros in 2004-2005.
Membership by local authorities. Municipal and provincial authorities
are urged to join the pact. 40 of them have signed it to date, including the
provincial capitals of Cadiz, Cordoba, Malaga and Seville. The Andalusia Parliament
also received an official request in September 2004. “We are optimistic that
it will join in the future,” says Ricardo Marques Sillero, president of the
A Contramano association. It is planned to hold a meeting of pact signatories
in 2006, to enable them to pool experiences.
Alliance Provence paysans écologistes consommateurs Les Olivades
257 chemin de la Petite-Garenne
Tel.: (00 33) (0) 4 94 30 03 13 or (00 33) (0) 4 94 98 80 00
E-mail: email@example.com allianceprovence.org
3,500 families in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (PACA) region belonging to
Associations for the Preservation of Small Farming (Associations pour le Maintien
d’une Agriculture Paysanne, or AMAPs) have undertaken to buy fresh produce directly
from local farmers for one season; they pay – in advance – a price set in conjunction
with the producer. There are now 200 of these associations, first set up in
Provence in 2001, and they are continuing to expand. Alliance Provence Paysans
Ecologistes Consommateurs was set up in 2002 to federate the AMAPs and publicise
the concept in the PACA region.
Local fair trade. “Consumers have a guarantee as to the traceability
of the produce, all of which is grown according to organic principles,” says
Daniel Vuillon, the founder of Alliance Provence. The (local) distribution system
requires little transportation, a factor in pollution. The produce is sold without
any packaging. By relocalising the economy and making small farms sustainable,
“the AMAPs are, in a way, involved in local fair trade,” says Philippe Chesneau,
vice-president of the PACA regional council with responsibility for employment
and spatial policies.
Alliance Provence is supported by the regional council, which is contributing
50,000 euros in 2005, equating to 40% of its budget; the rest comes from département
councils. This has helped preserve 60 farms. “Creating jobs by conventional
means costs 10,000 euros per post. With the AMAPs, the cost is 800 euros per
job,” says Philippe Chesneau.
Brittany Regional Council
283 av. du Général-Patton
35711 Rennes Cedex 7
Tel.: (00 33) (0) 2 99 27 10 10
In February 2005, 20 European regions signed a charter to protect crops
from contamination by genetically modified organisms (GMOs) within their boundaries.
Signatories include Tuscany (Italy), Wales (United Kingdom), Drama-Kavala-Xanthi
(Greece) and five French regions: Ile-de-France, Aquitaine, Poitou-Charentes,
Limousin and Brittany. This network of GMO-free European regions, set up in
2003, grew out of the mobilisation of thousands of European municipalities declaring
Pressure. “For the first time, regional authorities are trying to put pressure
on the European Commission,” says Eric Gall, of Greenpeace Europe. The signatories
to the charter consider the European directive – which, in relation to the scattering
of GMO seeds, does not provide for any penalties in the event of contamination
– to be inadequate.
The signatories also undertake to promote supplies of GMO-free raw materials.
Brittany is a pioneer in this respect. In October 2004, the regional council
signed a statement of intent making a commitment to the state of Paraná (Brazil),
which prohibits transgenic soya crops. “We are encouraging farmers to buy this
soya for animal feed, with a view to developing the production of guaranteed
GMO-free meat and milk,” explains Pascale Loget, vice-president of the regional
council with responsibility for Agenda 21.
21 rue Alexandre-Dumas
Tel.: (00 33)
(0) 1 55 78 28 60
At the National Centre for Independent Information on Waste (Centre National
d’Information Indépendante sur les Déchets, or CNIID), environmental activists
analyse research carried out by the Environment and Energy Management Agency
(Agence de l’Environnement et de la Maîtrise de l’Energie, or ADEME). They also
search through ministry archives and read scientific journals in order to keep
themselves informed about waste toxicity. This is an independent review office,
set up in 1997 and modelled on the Commission for Independent Research and
Information on Radioactivity (Commission de Recherche et d’Information
Indépendantes sur la Radioactivité, or CRIIRAD), which has uncovered numerous
nuclear scandals in France. For its part, the CNIID has made a name for itself
by exposing the harmful effects of dioxin on health; the presence of dioxin in
the atmosphere is related to the national waste management policy, which is
based on an increasing number of giant incinerators. The CNIID, which is
financially independent, receives 50% of its income from its members, with the
rest coming from employment incentives and private foundations.
Alternatives. The centre is campaigning for the development of
alternatives to the incineration and dumping of waste. Local and regional
authorities have “many avenues to explore”, explains Jocelyn Peyret, of the
CNIID, including the prevention and reduction of waste at source, the
development of composting, reuse (networks of recycling facilities, for example)
and more efficient local collection. The CNIID offers legal training for
environmental activists and tools for changing departmental waste disposal plans
(PEDs) or persuading elected representatives to develop alternative policies
(1). It works with the National Committee for Reducing Waste at Source
(Coordination Nationale pour la Réduction des Déchets à la Source), which brings
together 270 local associations all over France.
Persuading elected representatives. “Associations have now
implemented numerous projects which have led to a reduction in the amount of
waste incinerated or dumped in huge landfills,” says Jocelyn Peyret. Recently,
in the wake of a campaign conducted by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and
local associations in conjunction with the CNIID, the Bouches-du-Rhône and
Vendée département councils have opted for waste management plans that do not
include incineration. For its part, the Porte d’Alsace association of
municipalities has implemented a composting and sorting programme.
The CNIID is also conducting a “clean production” campaign targeting the
ministries involved in waste management, aimed at securing a greater commitment
from manufacturers (financially and in terms of ecological prevention) to
selective collection of their waste, particularly packaging.
The Bologna provincial council has been implementing the “Micro Kyoto” project
since 2001, as part of its local Agenda 21 programme. It seeks to reduce
greenhouse gas emissions in 60 municipalities, with a view to honouring Italy’s
commitments under the Kyoto protocol.
Co-op takes a stand against consumerism. In particular, the project encourages
private individuals, businesses and administrative departments to engage in
green purchasing. A responsible consumption and ecological footprint week was
organised in 2004. Information stands on responsible consumption were then set
up in supermarkets belonging to the Co-op chain, which is organised in the form
of consumers’ co-operatives. “These stands were put up in the areas set aside
for advertising promotions, so they were in an ideal location,” says Gabriele
Bolini, of the provincial council’s Agenda 21 office. Organisers spent a week
alerting customers to the realities behind low prices. One day was even devoted
to the subject of non-purchasing as an act of ecological resistance to
consumerism. In 2005, the working group is to publish a directory of the
solidarity-based economy. All of these events were funded by the Bologna