Finnova Foundation

Finnova Foundation welcomes the approval of the provisional agreement on a new EU Environmental Crime Directive

  • The European Union has become the first international body to criminalise wide-scale environmental damage “comparable to ecocide”
  • The agreement will act more severely against eco crimes

27/11/2023, Bruselas. The Council presidency and European Parliament negotiators reached on last Thursday November 16  a provisional agreement on a proposed EU law that would improve the investigation and prosecution of environmental crime offences. The directive defines environmental crime more precisely and adds new types of environmental criminal offences, replacing the previous 2008 directive, which has become obsolete in the face of developments in EU environmental law. It also harmonises the level of penalties for natural persons and, for the first time, for legal persons across all EU member states.

The Council and European Parliament agreed to increase the number of offences that currently exist under EU criminal law from nine to 18. This broadens and clarifies the type of conduct that is prohibited because it harms the environment. The new offences include timber trafficking, which is a major cause of deforestation in some parts of the world, the illegal recycling of polluting components of ships and serious breaches of legislation on chemicals.

The Council and European Parliament also agreed on a ‘qualified offence’ clause. Offences referred to in the directive, and which are committed intentionally, are considered a qualified offence if they cause destruction; irreversible, widespread and substantial damage; or long-lasting, widespread and substantial damage to an ecosystem of considerable size or environmental value, or to a natural habitat within a protected site, or to the quality of air, soil or water.

In addition, member states will have to ensure that training is provided for those working to detect, investigate and prosecute environmental crime, such as judges, prosecutors and police authorities. EU countries will also need to make sure that these authorities have adequate resources – for instance in terms of the number of qualified staff and the financial resources to carry out their functions under the directive. The directive also contains provisions on support and assistance to persons reporting environmental crime, environmental defenders and persons affected by these crimes.

The agreement still needs to be confirmed by both institutions before going through the formal adoption procedure.

Finnova, alligned with environmental protection

The Finnova Foundation, as an entity committed to sustainable development and water and waste management, welcomes the approval of this agreement which it is intended to remember the importance and application of ecology in our daily lives to combat climate change. As part of this commitment, Finnova is currently a partner in three LIFE projects, the European Union’s funding instrument for the environment and climate action, and in a HORIZON project, the EU’s funding programme for financing and innovation.

LIFE ECOdigestión 2.0, with a budget of €970,000, aims to use biogas as a reliable and green energy source to meet industrial energy demand. The initiative, which will run until February 2024, is a consortium led by Global Omnium (Spain), in partnership with Águas do Centro Litoral (Portugal) and the Finnova Foundation (Belgium).

LIFE NextFUMIGREEN develops natural fumigants from plant extracts to control pests in intensive horticultural crops under glass. The project has a budget of €2,758,921.01, and is led by the Spanish company FumiHogar, with five other partners: the Foundation for Agricultural Auxiliary Technologies (TECNOVA); the Finnova Foundation; B&B Asesores Auditores Ambientales; Comercial Quimica Masso; and BrioAgro Tech.

The main objective of LIFE COSTAdapta is to address the adaptation of the coast of Gran Canaria to sea level rise by designing a tidal pool-reef system. The project, which has a duration of 7 years and a total budget of 3,409,864 €, is coordinated by the Gran Canaria Island Energy Council (CIEGC) of the Cabildo de Gran Canaria with the support of 7 partners: University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC); University of Cantabria (UC); INGECID S. L.; Raley Estudios Costeros S.C.P.; ECOncrete AQUA; Fundación Canaria para el Reciclaje y Desarrollo Sostenible (FCR) and Fundación Finnova.

RES4CITY is an innovative €2.5 million educational project 100% funded by the European Commission through the Horizon Europe programme. The RES4CITY education programme has the main objective of bridging the skills gap that is slowing down the transition to sustainable energy. The programme will be designed by a multidisciplinary group of partners from academia, industry and European NGOs with expertise in energy management, renewable energy systems, renewable fuel technologies and the development and implementation of sustainability strategy design.

About the Finnova Foundation

Finnova is a foundation working for the promotion and development of innovation and entrepreneurship at EU level. Based in Brussels, it operates through collaborations and partnerships in all EU countries. Finnova’s expertise in leading European project communication and dissemination activities is combined with a strong proven track record in start-ups and business support programmes, such as accelerators, incubators and ceremonial event selection and awarding.

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