Preparing Morocco’s industry for the European Single Market for Green Products
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Certifications and labels are effective tools for raising awareness around a range of issues related to sustainability and direct the choice consumers do every day. However, in the EU, where a diverse range of national green-labels continue to coexist on the EU Single Market have led to a situation where labels fail to reach a widespread consumer recognition and where producers have to fulfill different standards for different labels. This creates a disparity on standards, market shares and competitiveness for environmental labeled products. Therefore, the finding of a common methodology and brand that could facilitate the future establishment of environmental audits for organizations and the calculation of the environmental footprint of products has become a priority for the European Union.
2015 61,3% of Morocco's exports went to the EU, indicating the importance of the European Single Market for Moroccan producers. Hence, the use of a common methodology to measure and communicate the life cycle environmental performance (LCA) of products might become relevant for Moroccan companies exporting to the EU. As part of the EU funded SwitchMed programme, UNIDO organized in Rabat on the 18-20 of July information and training days on the methodology related to the new EU Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) framework, attracting over 100 interested stakeholders from the Moroccan export industry, academia, government institutions and industrial federations.
Together with companies from important Moroccan export manufacturing sectors (textile, car, paper, olive oil) UNIDO will proceed with a pilot study that will measure the impacts of the so far developed framework from the EU PEF methodology within the participating companies, where findings will eventually provide a feedback to the EU in the final revision phase of the methodology.
Branding for sustainable products can play an important role in fostering environmental responsibility taking both for consumers as well as for producers. But the introduction of the PEF methodology for Moroccan companies also enables producers to compete on see what needs to be improved in order to reach a similar competitiveness compared to European companies. As one of the leaders of these studies Mark Goedkoop from PRé Consultants, says that; “It is indeed about understanding the impacts (of this methodology) and how you can improve, comparing to the performance of companies in Europe to eventually find out what you do better, or worse…”
The EU common label and methodology for green products will enable exporters to maintain a competitive advantage on the European Single Market and to communicate this consistently to the market on same and equal terms as European companies over one label. At the same time, this methodology might also give reason for Moroccan producers that are interested in adding value to their products with a benchmark methodology that in the long term can prove to be good for the business, the environment and ensure them a green labeled product ready for export to the EU.