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SUSTAINABILITY| 08.11.2022

What is the European Green Deal?

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The European Green Deal establishes a road map to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050 by boosting the economy, improving health and quality of life, and protecting nature.

This deal seeks to drastically reduce pollutant emissions in the next decade before reaching climate neutrality in 2050. The road map includes 50 points that address promoting the efficient use of resources and covering all sectors of the economy, with a special emphasis on those that generate higher emissions, such as transport or industries. In this article, we’ll explain the objectives of this Green Deal and its seven pillars.

Let’s first look at some recent history: The European Commission first set the European Green Deal in motion in December 2019. Despite the pandemic, in March 2020 the Commission presented a Circular Economy Action Plan, and in December 2020, the European Council drew conclusions that highlighted the function of the circular economy in guaranteeing ecological recovery after COVID-19. During these two years, progress has continued in developing policies and actions to achieve the objective that this deal strives for: climate neutrality for Europe. The deal also pursues the objective of the European Union reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% between now and 2030, as compared to the levels in 1990.

The Seven Pillars of the Green Deal

The road map of the European Green Deal consists of seven lines of action, all of which have established time frames to pass legislative measures that support the change and the objectives to be met.

The EU indicates that, in order to meet the set objectives, action will be needed in all sectors of the economy, investing in environmentally friendly technologies, supporting industry so that it can innovate, investing in cleaner public and private transportation systems, decarbonizing the energy sector, guaranteeing that buildings are more efficient, and collaborating with international partners to achieve this.  

  1. Clean Energy

In this line of action, the EU seeks to give opportunities to alternative and renewable energy sources that are cleaner than fossil fuels. This is based on three principles. The first, promoting energy efficiency and developing an electricity sector largely based on renewable sources. The second is guaranteeing a safe and affordable energy supply for the EU. The third principle is implementing a fully integrated, interconnected, and digitalized EU energy market. 

  1. Sustainable Industry

According to the European Commission, the achievement of these climate and environment objectives requires new industrial policy based on the circular economy. One of these objectives will be the stimulate the development of new markets for climate-neutral and circular products.

  1. Build and Renew

The Green Deal road map will include a strong push toward improving the energy efficiency of buildings. The European Commission will bring together the construction sector, architects, and engineers to develop innovative financing possibilities and promote investments in energy efficiency in buildings.

  1. Sustainable Mobility

As we’ve mentioned before in previous articles, since 2016, 90% of city dwellers have been breathing air that did not meet safety standards established by the World Health Organization (WHO), which consequently led to 4.2 million deaths due to air pollution. In addition, transport represents a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions, and these emissions continue to steadily increase.  As we’ve mentioned, the European Green Deal seeks to reduce these emissions by 90% between now and 2050. Among other measures, the Green Deal will address emissions and urban congestions, and will improve public transport. 

  1. Biodiversity

This lever is a fundamental part of the European Green Deal promoted after the pandemic to achieve ecological recovery. The EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 is a wide-reaching, ambitious, long-term plan to protect nature and reverse the harm to ecosystems. The aim is for European biodiversity to enter the recovery path between now and 2030 through concrete measures and commitments. In urban areas, the proposals seek to make European cities more sustainable and eco-friendly, and to promote biodiversity in them. 

  1. Farm to Table

In May 2020, the EU presented the Farm to Table Strategy. The aim of this maneuver is for European foods to be produced with minimal impact on nature, while continuing to be of good quality and nutritious. It is also expected to reduce soil and water pollution due to excess agricultural nutrients, such as nitrates and phosphates. 

  1. Eliminate Pollution

The final line of action seeks to protect European citizens and ecosystems, fighting against contamination to prevent air, water, and soil pollution.  There are also objectives for air quality, industrial pollution, and hazardous chemical product contamination.

In line with the last pillar, in the final week of October 2022, the Commission proposed stricter standards on contaminants of the air, surface and underground water, and treatment of urban sewage. In the atmosphere and water, all the new standards provide a clear return on investment thanks to benefits in terms of health, energy savings, food production, industry, and biodiversity. The Commission is proposing both tightening up allowed pollutant levels and improving their application, so that the pollution reduction objectives can be reached more often in practice.

These new proposals are a key step toward the European Green Deal objective of achieving an environment with no harmful pollution by 2050.

The reduction of MAPFRE’s environmental footprint is a key element of its work in terms of environmental responsibility and reflects the company’s desire to be an active part in the necessary and urgent transformation toward a low-carbon economy. At MAPFRE, we have developed the 2021-2030 Environmental Footprint Corporate Plan with demanding objectives. By 2024 specifically, we have committed to offsetting MAPFRE’s carbon footprint in eight countries, and by 2050, the challenge is to reach greenhouse gas emission neutrality, that is, zero net emissions in the insurance and reinsurance underwriting portfolios.