My first week at GECA was a fantastic initiation, immersing myself into the organisation and connecting with a passionate and capable team.
There was a change of pace for week two, which saw me jump on a carbon offset flight to Brussels for the European Commission Environmental Footprint Conference, held from 3 – 4 November 2015.
The theme of the European conference was ‘harmonisation’. This is a powerful and relevant foundation for the design of GECA’s renewed vision and direction for driving sustainable sourcing, production and consumption across the whole supply chain. It is also in line with the international agenda and the United Nations’ commitment to sustainable development.
We often talk of developing a path towards sustainable development as being the biggest challenge humanity has ever faced, and know that we are at a critical point in time with significant change needed. In the Australian context of sustainability, we often talk about the fact that Europe is far ahead.
I had not realised how far ahead.
The European Commission Product Environmental Footprint is an initiative that is piloting the measurement of the environmental footprint of over 3000 products manufactured across Europe, throughout the whole supply chain and life cycle. It is a significant three year commitment and investment by the EC and many companies. They already have the organisational environmental footprint assessment in play and next month will launch their agenda for the circular economy. Businesses from all sectors and across all members of the EC were there at the conference to support the implementation of the Commission’s commitment.
If true global sustainable development is to occur, then true global harmonisation is required through a coordinated and streamlined approach. The opportunity is there for us to learn from Europe taking the lead and to work towards preparing for a similar framework within our own Australasian region. It is important to not reinvent the wheel.
These future initiatives will positively affect our community in two ways.
Firstly, manufacturers who have environmentally certified products will be at a distinct advantage when calculating and declaring the environmental impact of their production – a requirement that I’m sure will soon be enforced.
In relation to the green products market, it will increase the market for ethically produced products with low environmental impact, which is good news for the bottom line.
In regard to growing our business, as well as the business of our valued licensees, GECA is committed to connecting our distributors to our manufacturers. Business is looking for easy options to have assured environmental and ethical products that provide solutions to their needs. The more prepared we are now, the easier it will be to export your products to overseas markets – China is moving fast on this initiative, as well as Europe.
Now, I’m back from Brussels and ready for action. My focus now is to listen and engage with you in order to co-create 2016. I encourage you to connect with the GECA team and I so that together, we can put harmonisation into practice. Together, we can help with both supply and demand in order to ensure a sustainable future for all.