Close to 800 people attended the Basque Eco-Efficiency Week 2012, held between 25th May and 5th June. The initiative was promoted by Ihobe and featured 28 events organised by 20 firms. All of the organisations that participated in the initiative are part of the Eco-Efficiency Programme for Basque Companies 2010-2014. In total, 500 organisations have now signed up to this programme.
Eco-design, sustainable construction, carbon footprints and green undertakings were the key issues at the Basque Eco-Efficiency Week 2012, an initiative which provided an invaluable framework for assessing environmental and innovative actions in Basque industry, establishing synergies and improving the competitiveness of the Basque business sector.
Over eight days, various Basque towns and cities staged the 28 events which comprised the first edition of the Basque Eco-Efficiency Week, an ambitious programme of events aimed at providing a meeting place for discussing eco-efficient actions and initiatives. Through seminars, conferences, site visits, breakfasts, technical sessions, courses and workshops, the organising bodies as well as their associated companies shared their experiences and success stories. The discussion focused on the application of solutions based on innovation and sustainability as a means of increasing competitiveness in various sectors of the Basque economy.
Sustainable building, eco-design, carbon footprints and green undertakings were the core issues up for discussion at the Basque Eco-Efficiency Week 2012. In total, more than 500 people attended the 12 events. The seminars on energy efficiency, the environmental requirements of the French and German markets, and green public procurement in the Basque Autonomous Community were also a success. The organising bodies as well as those in attendance considered them to be extremely useful and valuable.
Over the course of each of the seminars, the ability of the most important firms to drive eco-efficiency was identified as one of the keys in ensuring competitiveness. Following on from this, during the visit to the Norbega plant in Galdakao, the company’s technical director stated that “aside from positioning ourselves as a leading firm in terms of our environmental performance, all of the improvements that we have introduced with regards savings in raw materials and energy are also viable from a financial perspective”.
Similarly, in the events which were aimed at the construction sector, the commitment of many Basque firms to the implementation of eco-design policies as a decisive solution for differentiating their products was also highlighted.
Members of some of the sectors which were represented in the events that made up the Basque Eco-Efficiency Week 2012 were in agreement about the need to regard energy efficiency as a priority area for action in the improvement of their business practices. This was underlined by representatives of Fundiciones del Estanda, who stated that “in a sector such as the foundry one, which is energetically intensive, there is still a lot of room for optimising processes”.
The need to invest in eco-efficiency in order to improve the competitive advantages of firms in international markets was a subject which awoke great interest at an event which was attended by Pilar Unzalu, the Basque Minister for the Environment, Land Planning, Agriculture and Fisheries. The Minister stressed the need to “capitalise on the opportunities which exist in the French and German markets because, in addition to representing 30% of Basque exports, they are also ever more demanding from an environmental perspective”. At the same event, the representative for the German Minister of the Environment encouraged Basque firms to join the Ecopol eco-innovation policy instruments project, stating that “by 2020, we want to have more than one million electric cars in circulation in Germany because this will enable us to take advantage of our surplus wind-generated electricity by using it in the batteries of electric cars”.
The Basque Eco-Efficiency Week 2012, promoted by Ihobe, falls under the Eco-Efficiency Programme in Basque Companies 2010-2014. 500 Basque firms have now signed up to the programme. In addition to Ihobe, 20 businesses across a variety of sectors participated in this first edition of the Basque Eco-Efficiency Week. After its conclusion, Ihobe will publish a report about the Week, which will reveal its main results and conclusions.
All information pertaining to the Basque Eco-Efficiency Week 2012 can be accessed on Ihobe’s website at www.ihobe.net.
23 June, 2012.