Environmental sustainability

To contribute to the improvement of the environmental performance of competitive EU Wines and sector by preserving the natural assets and improving environmentally sustainable viticulture practices, while preventing disproportionate burdens, barriers to trade and distortions of competition.

CEEV objectives

  • To contribute to the improvement of the environmental performance of competitive EU Wines and sector by preserving the natural assets and improving environmental sustainable viti-viniculture practices, preventing disproportionate burdens, barriers to trade and distortions of competition, boosting the competitiveness of the EU Wine products and enhancing the leading position of the EU wines on the world market;
  • To overcome the uncoordinated proliferation of environmental standards that prevents wine companies from being more competitive and participate in the smooth development of the green market;
  • To support EU methodology and information solutions which are appropriate and adapted for measuring and communicating wine’s and wine companies’ environmental performance.
  • To promote the improvement of the energy and environmental performance of wine production and trade, identifying opportunities for innovation and cost-savings, and coordinating the EU wine sector efforts towards a more environmentally sustainable viti-viniculture as a valuable wine industry’s contribution to the Europe 2020 strategy for sustainable growth:
    • Building on existing science and initiatives to develop a consistent approach for the environmental assessment of wine products and companies that ensure a coherent applicability all across Europe;
    • Providing tools to enable wineries to monitor their performance as well as to develop environmental tailored management system, which include evaluation and continuous improvement;
    • Providing coordination that facilitates exchange and dissemination of environmental best practice within the EU wine industry, which is extremely atomized, widely dispersed geographically and dominated by a large number of small structures.

Policy Developments

The Commission’s Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe presents an ambitious vision of sustainable economic growth for Europe by reducing the overall environmental impact of production. The Roadmap provides a framework in which future actions can be designed and implemented coherently. It sets out a vision for the structural and technological change needed up to 2050, with milestones to be reached by 2020. The various actions and measures indicated in the roadmap should now be taken forward. The Commission will prepare appropriate policy and legislative proposals to implement it. Member States will also need to act at their level, bringing new efficiency measures to business and consumers.

In 2012 the Commission launched a consultation looking in particular at the Environmental Footprint of Products (PEF) and the Environmental Footprint of Organisations (OEF), in order to gather views and additional information on the possible introduction of EU wide measures related to Sustainable Production and Consumption.

Among the building blocks of the European Union's policy on sustainable consumption and production, an initiative which is particularly relevant for the food sector, including the wine sector, is the European Food Sustainable Production and Consumption Round Table. It aims at establishing the food chain as a major contributor towards sustainable consumption and production in Europe, promoting a science-based, coherent approach to sustainable consumption and production in the food sector across Europe, while taking into account environmental interactions at all stages of the food chain, and sector specificities where relevant. CEEV participates in this platform through CELCAA.

In April 2013, the Commission launched a Communication "Building the Single Market for Green Products and facilitating better information on the environmental performance of products and organizations  which proposes a set of actions to overcome the existing barriers for the circulation of ‘green’ products in the Single Market due to the diversity of inconsistent public or private methods and schemes on environmental performance at national level across the EU:

  • it establishes two methods to measure environmental performance throughout the lifecycle: the Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) and the Organisation Environmental Footprint (OEF);
  • it recommends the use of these methods to Member States, companies, private organisations and the financial community through a Commission Recommendation;
  • it announces a three-year testing period to develop product- and sector-specific rules through a multi-stakeholder process;
  • it provides principles for communicating environmental performance, such as transparency, reliability, completeness, comparability and clarity;
  • it supports international efforts towards more coordination in methodological development and data availability.

Policy background

In the mainstream of the Europe 2020, and building on 40 years of EU Environment Policy, at the end of 2012 the European Commission proposed a new Environment Action Programme for the EU. Entitled "Living well, within the limits of our planet", it will guide the EU environment policy up to 2020. The proposal aims to transform the EU into an inclusive and sustainable green economy. Protecting and enhancing natural capital, encouraging more resource efficiency and accelerating the transition to the low-carbon economy are key features of this new Action Programme. Priorities include boosting sustainable resource-efficient low-carbon growth and securing the necessary investments in support of environment and climate change policy.

Within this broader framework, the EU has recently launched a number of strategic initiatives in the field of environment, including the Resource Efficiency Roadmap, the 2020 Biodiversity Strategy and the Low Carbon Economy Roadmap.

On 16 July 2008, the European Commission presented the Sustainable Consumption and Production and Sustainable Industrial Policy (SCP/SIP) Action Plan. It includes a series of proposals on sustainable consumption and production intended to contribute to improving the environmental performance of products and increase the demand for more sustainable goods and production technologies. It also seeks to encourage EU industry to take advantage of opportunities to innovate. The Council endorsed the Action Plan in its conclusions adopted on 4 December 2008. 

The core objective of this Action Plan is “to improve the energy and environmental performance of products and foster their uptake by consumers. This includes setting ambitious standards throughout the Internal Market, ensuring that products are improved using a systematic approach to incentives and procurement, and reinforcing information to consumers through a more coherent and simplified labelling framework, so that demand can underpin this policy”.