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EuroCommerce supports a voluntary approach to measure the environmental footprint of products and organisations


09 Apr 2013


EU Priorities 2020
Sustainable Dev.
Trade & Society

EuroCommerce welcomes the European Commission’s new sustainable consumption and production initiative and supports the proposed methodologies to evaluate the environmental footprint of products and organisations. However, it must be ensured that their use remain voluntary, easier to implement and more efficient than the already existing ones. This is particularly important for SMEs.

The Commission’s package contains a communication on ‘building the Single Market for green products’, a proposal for methodologies intended to improve the availability of clear, reliable and comparable information on the environmental footprint of products and organisations and a recommendation on their use.

Christian Verschueren, Director-General of EuroCommerce said, “This is a step in the right direction. It should provide all actors with clear guidance to help them calculate their environmental footprint. However, the proposed methodologies are just one of many options. Retailers and wholesalers already use a variety of effective means to calculate their environmental impact. One size will not fit all in this instance. It is therefore essential for the commerce sector that the implementation of this new European proposal remains voluntary.”

Commerce advocates a holistic approach to this issue. Any measure must require that efforts are made by all actors in the supply-chain and include integrated policies from both a production and consumer-information point of view. The Commission’s objectives to simplify and provide better information to consumers are, therefore, widely supported by the commerce sector. We also stress the benefits of having fewer and clearer rules for calculating the environmental footprint of the various products and sectors.

The Commission’s proposal also suggests a pilot phase (2013-2016) for analysing the environmental footprints. “This is a positive initiative which will allow us to answer some of the more practical questions regarding the relations between commerce and suppliers,” Mr Verschueren commented. “We invite our members, in particular SMEs, to take part in the pilot phase to assess and give feedback on the practicality of this European methodology.”


For further information, please contact:

Marjolein Raes

Director of Advocacy & Communications

Tel: +32 2 737 05 99

EuroCommerce and the commerce sector

EuroCommerce represents the retail, wholesale and international trade sectors in Europe. Its membership includes commerce federations and companies in 31 European countries.


Commerce plays a unique role in the European economy, acting as the link between manufacturers and the nearly 500 million consumers across Europe over a billion times a day. It is a dynamic and labour-intensive sector, generating 11% of the EU’s GDP. One company out of three in Europe is active in the commerce sector. Over 99% of the 6 million companies in commerce are small and medium-sized enterprises. It also includes some of Europe’s most successful companies. The sector is a major source of employment creation: 33 million Europeans work in commerce, which is one of the few remaining job-creating activities in Europe. It also supports millions of dependent jobs throughout the supply chain from small local suppliers to international businesses.




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