Economy and environment – what is it all about?
Economy and Environment are two sides of the same coin. Economy and ecology have been unjustly conceived as opposing elements for too long. On the contrary, ecology and economy belong together. A healthy environment and a sparing and careful use of natural resources are prerequisites for a stable economic and social development in the long term. Climate protection opens up massive export opportunities for German companies because they have a broad range of energy and resource saving technologies and products to offer. This will help to strengthen Germany’s leading position as an exporting country of environmental technologies.
Climate protection is one of the factors stimulating economic development. Hence, the achievement of the German climate protection targets also serves to strengthen the competitive opportunities of German companies on international markets. The Federal Government will draw more on the practical knowledge available in German industry to formulate its climate protection legislation and to realise its climate protection targets.
Environmental innovation programme
The Federal Environment Ministry supports large scale technical projects at home which are aimed at preventing or mitigating environmental pollution. The environmental innovation programme contributes substantially to implementing and continually improving state of the art technologies and environmental law provisions. By supporting measures with a wide-spread demonstration effect the programme also serves as a multiplier: companies receive a stimulus to carry out innovative and low polluting measures. In particular integrated environmental projects receive support under the programme and priority is given to small and medium-sized enterprises.
Export of environmental technologies
There is a great demand in energy and resource saving environmental technologies in emerging economies and developing countries. The service unit of the Federal Environment Ministry (BMUB) for environmental technology export and CDM projects provides assistance to companies which run into difficulties with state agencies in emerging and developing countries with their exports of environmental technologies and thus the unit facilitates a smooth implementation of projects.
Environmental responsibility in the private business sector
Sustainable management as strategic business target
Sustainable and environmentally sound development is not only a government responsibility but has to be shared by the private business sector. This is demonstrated by the commitment shown by the private sector in the field of climate protection. Sustainable management is increasingly becoming a strategic business target. As part of this policy environmental protection measures can be linked with cost cuts, image benefits and increases in sales.
European Environmental Audit System (EMAS)
Voluntary environmental management measures according to the amended EU Environmental Audit Directive allows all kinds of institutions, in example companies but also authorities, service units or even private households to take part in the European eco-management and audit scheme (EMAS). Meanwhile EMAS has become an effective environmental management instrument in numerous enterprises. Industry in Germany has shown a particular and exemplary openness to the European environmental audit: There is no other country with more EMAS sites. The Federal Environment Ministry was first EMAS certified in 2006 and has since remained part of the programme.