Velvyslancův projev na pracovní snídani České rady pro šetrné budovy (22. září 2015) [fr]
Mrs Director, Mr. Chairman,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am very glad to welcome you today and to open the premises of the French Embassy to the Czech Green Building Council. This historical baroque “Palac” would certainly benefit greatly from your enlightened pieces of advice to make it more energy and emission friendly.
Such concepts as sustainability, environmental awareness and Climate Change-related topics have been, these last years, and particularly these past months, successfully brought on the top of the agenda not only of both international and regional organizations, but also of numerous global and local actors such as private companies and NGOs. The move towards a more systematic inclusion of the environmental impact in political, social and economic decision making is, from now on, accepted as a global trend, even if more could be achieved.
As you know, we are two months away from the official opening of United Nations’ COP 21 summit which will take place in Paris from November 30th to December 11th. The closer we get to that event, the more intense global and local mobilization grows. As the host country and as a committed member of the international community, France is striving to do its best so that an ambitious and comprehensive agreement should be achieved in Paris in order to limit below the “2°C” threshold global temperatures’ increase. French diplomatic network is deeply involved to make this ambition a reality so that a sustainable planet could be handed over to future generations.
Governments are of course part of these ongoing negotiations ; however, civil society, local governments - cities and towns -, NGOs and private companies will have an essential role in the implementation of future commitments towards the environment by deeply changing the way we live, build, consume, eat, move and communicate.
No sustainable and comprehensive agreement could be achieved without civil society, without you. This is why private companies have been, since the beginning of these negotiations, closely associated to the COP 21 preparatory process: for instance, many representatives of global companies met last May in Paris at the 1st Business and Climate summit, where they pledged to actively contribute to global emission reductions. A similar meeting will take place in New York in a few days, on September 26th.
The private sector is a key player in these global negotiations. Its needs, its ideas and its projects, its constraints as well, should be taken into account. Private companies, in particular in the industrial sector, have sometimes been regarded as reluctant to engage in the fight against climate change; many of them are now at the forefront of Climate friendly solutions and innovation. This is why, we, as an Embassy, are trying to advocate innovative solutions implemented by private companies: through our website, Facebook and Twitter accounts, we promote the so-called COP 21 Solution’s Agenda on the private sector’s contributions to limit emissions. We also organized last June a conference in close association with the UN representation office and the Czech Lower Chamber, where a dozen of private companies, including some of your members, depicted their solutions.
Paths to reduce emissions are diverse, from financial tools like fiscal policy, to change of habits, choice of energy mix or evolution in the production process. Building industry, alongside with transportation, represents one of the most promising and efficient actor to achieve emissions reduction. As you know, built environment stands for 40% of total EU energy consumption and generates 36% of EU greenhouses gases: reducing its consumption and emission is an adequate way to reach the European and COP 21 targets.
This is why I am particularly glad to host in the French Embassy a group of committed representatives of building companies. I understand that, taking the opportunity of the World Green Building Week (21-27/09), you are involved in the process of creating a new strategy that should ensure that targets set by the European legislation on Energy Efficiency and Energy Performance are being reached here, in the Czech Republic. I would like to wish you a fruitful and successful working session and to express our support to such an initiative which will, I am convinced, bring building standards and practice towards a more sustainable level.
As an active institutional observer, we’ve been witnessing in the last 4 or 5 years how developers and building companies’ involvement have triggered significant changes. Driven by market mechanisms, you succeeded in introducing new practices such as international building certification methodology which are now a common, if not almost compulsory, practice.
Private companies, alongside with successful institutional initiatives such as Zelena Usporam, have played here, on the Czech Market, a key role to raise awareness among citizens and political representatives on climate change-related challenges, proving that far from being an additional burden, environmental regulation could go hand in hand with cost-effective business models as well as with jobs creation. The same thinking brought the French government to include in its recently adopted law on “Energy transition for a green growth” numerous measures dedicated to enhancing built environment efficiency and sustainability.
Let me once again warmly welcome you in the Buquoy palace – and don’t worry about its energy efficiency as it is currently undergoing a carbon audit – and allow me to pay tribute to your challenging initiative. I hope that this working session will allow you to further develop the strategic document you want to hand over to public administration.
I am also glad to notice that you already rely on the know-how and the experience of some of your French Members with whom we’ve been closely cooperating.
Once again, Mr. Chairman, Mrs Director, dear Friends, let me express you the full support of the French Embassy in your endeavor and be sure that our economic and business departments stand at your disposal should you need any additional support.