Daily Briefing

Editor’s note: CSDDD horse-trading

Cardboard packaging waste
Certain Italian MEPs have been particularly active in voting to water down the original European Commission proposal for the EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (Photo: Blackday/Envato)

The latest edition of our Sustainable Views newsletter

Dear reader,

And so it goes on. Sources tell me negotiations continue on the EU Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive and the hope is for EU member states to vote on the law on February 28. 

Belgium, as holder of the six-month rotating EU presidency, is working to persuade those countries threatening to vote “nein” or “no, grazie” to change their minds. Sustainable Views understands that one way of bringing Italy on board would be to agree some kind of trade-off with the planned EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation, also entering the final stages of negotiations.

Members of the European parliament have already voted to water down the original European Commission proposal, with many of the demands made by business groups finding their way into the final draft text. These changes were indeed helped along by Italy. The country is the third-biggest paper and board producer in Europe, behind Germany and Sweden, and Italian MEPs have been particularly active on the file. 

(Though, as you may remember, some French MEPs also zoomed into action to ensure their beloved Camembert could continue to be sold in a wooden box.)

Don’t hold your breath, however. Certain MEPs are increasingly downbeat about the whole affair and uncertain whether the CSDDD will make it through the legislative process before the June European elections. The latest date the bill could be given a final green, or red, light by the parliament would be March 15 — if member states can get their act together prior to this date. 

On Sustainable Views today, Justin Gerdes reports from the US on why John Podesta — who currently oversees the implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act and who will replace John Kerry as US climate envoy this spring — is well placed to continue his predecessor’s Energy Transition Accelerator initiative. 

Launched at COP27 in Egypt in November 2022, the ETA is aimed at mobilising large amounts of finance for the transition from coal to clean power in developing countries through the use of carbon credits. 

Experts spoken to by Justin also point to Podesta’s experience in focusing on how the energy transition can benefit workers as well as investors as another reason why the accelerator has a decent chance of success.

“John Podesta has been laser-focused on making sure that the clean energy transition works for American workers,” says Todd Tucker, director of industrial policy and trade at the Roosevelt Institute think-tank. “US trading partners can breathe easy that what the US commits to do internationally will work politically and economically at home, and be credible and lasting.”

Perhaps EU leaders would also be well advised to learn from Podesta, given their apparent difficulty in convincing certain politicians, businesses and voters that climate action can go hand in hand with creating jobs and opportunities for all. 

Meanwhile, Alex examines a report by The Conference Board looking at how the introduction of the EU’s Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism is leading to some creative thinking around the pricing of carbon emissions. It suggests one way companies can better manage the impacts of the EU legislation is to adopt their own internal carbon pricing. 

The report sets out a number of different approaches to ICP, including the idea of a “carbon shadow price”, which attaches a theoretical cost to each ton of CO2 emitted. Companies can use these figures to assess the likely environmental toll of projects.

“Ultimately, the more policies and market tools incentivising countries and companies to set carbon prices, the faster they will reduce these costs and tackle climate change simultaneously,” says Tommy Ricketts, chief executive and co-founder of carbon rating agency BeZero Carbon.

Until tomorrow,

Philippa

Philippa Nuttall is the editor of Sustainable Views 

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