The LACRe project was aimed at contributing locally to fight climate change by means of the realization of public-private partnerships that, appealing to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), have been successful in promoting effective strategies for reducing greenhouse gases emissions.
The adopted reference model was the “New Social Partnership” defined by the Copenhagen Centre (Independent Institute of Social Studies) as “people and organizations coming from the public and private sector and from the civil society, who voluntarily and mutually engage in innovative relationships to pursue common goals by sharing their resources and expertise”.
In particular, three key goals were set:
- to involve local companies in a shared path to reduce greenhouse gas emissions started with the signing of an agreement that commits all parties to measure their emissions and to define an action plan for their reduction;
- to measure the obtained results through a common methodology;
- to set up a path of accountability and transparency that allows to communicate to the local communities the commitments taken, the results obtained and the environmental benefits produced by the subscribers of the Local “Alliance for Climate”.
The project intended to demonstrate that through cooperation and shared responsibilities between public and private sectors it is possible to create a positive “cascade” effect locally and globally, respectively promoting the conversion of the local production system in a low carbon economy (in the specific case of Livorno and Ferrara), and supporting the European policy to fight climate change.
Fasi del Progetto
The main project actions were the following:
- capacity building and definition of tools to disseminate knowledge about climate change and the instruments to fight them. In particular, this action has foreseen training activity, an analysis of the main issues related to the public-private partnership for climate (International review) and the definition of the “Local Climate Alliance” tools.
- construction of the ''Local Climate Alliance" in Livorno and Ferrara. The two Provinces have committed themselves to involving companies operating on the territory and the local communities in a public-private partnership. Joining the partnership meant for the companies to follow a 3-step procedure:
- filling out a questionnaire for mapping the main sources of the companies’ GHG emissions and the starting conditions related to environmental and energy efficiency policies;
- calculation of the companies’ carbon footprint;
- implementation of the voluntary Action Plan to reduce GHG emissions, which includes a series of actions that companies must realize to achieve the reduction of their carbon footprint.
- evaluation and Guidelines. The results achieved through the local experiments were evaluated and an “operative manual” (composed of guidelines and a tool kit for potential users) was developed to support other local communities willing to undertake the same path.
- dissemination and communication activities to give visibility to the project results, to the undertaken commitments and to the companies that have voluntarily committed themselves to invest in mitigation of climate change.
The experiment of the public-private partnership in an innovative field such as environmental protection, and particularly in that of the greenhouse gas reduction, showed that this kind of cooperation can be a tool that better than others allows different subjects to make available and share resources for contributing locally to achieve ambitious goals.
LACRe demonstrated that a public-private partnership for climate does not only allow to obtain benefits from the environment, but also to boost local economy and to orient the market towards “green” innovation by means of specific actions implemented by the companies. The tested model was used in other European projects.
In particular, the municipality of Bologna used LACRe as a starting point for the construction of the model LIFE+ GAIA (Green Areas Inner-city Agreements); furthermore the Regional Environmental Protection Agency (ARPA) and the Region of Emilia Romagna have selected this model within the LIFE AQUA project (Adopting Quality Water Use in the Agro-industry sector) as a methodological tool to facilitate the reduction of water consumption by the private sector.
The main results achieved by LACRe are:
- creation of public-private partnerships promoted by the Provinces of Livorno and Ferrara and based on a two-level agreement:
- the signing of the MoU (Memorandum of Understanding). In Livorno, the subscribers were: Province, National Confederation of Crafts and Small and Medium Enterprises (CAN), National League of Cooperatives and Mutual Associations (Legacoop) - Territorial Committee of Livorno, Confederation of traders in commerce and tourism (Confesercenti) of Livorno, Small and Medium Enterprises Association (API), General Confederation of Italian Industry (Confindustria). In addition to the promoters of the partnership, also the Agency for Energy of Livorno played a key support and facilitation role. In Ferrara the document was signed by the Province, Chamber of Commerce, Legacoop, Union of Industrialists and enterprises (Unindustria), Italian Farmers Confederation (CIA), General Confederation of Italian Agriculture (Confagricoltura), Agency for Territorial Development (Sipro), HTS Consortium (composed of companies operating in different sectors: mechanical, textiles and clothing, services, chemical), CAN.
- the signing of the “Commitments charter” by the single companies in order to activate accounting and emissions reductions paths.
- definition of action plans containing targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by each member. The plans were drawn up on the basis of specific, realistic and measurable commitments. The emission reduction targets was defined starting from the calculation of the carbon footprint, i.e. the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that a company, a product or a service releases during its operation or its life cycle. The calculation was elaborated following the GHG Protocol, the most diffused standard at international level which considers all sources of emission in a company (fuels, electric energy, transports). In this way it was possible to map all direct and indirect sources of greenhouse gas emissions and to measure those attributable to a single product, service or organization. This tool was useful for companies to monitor the amount of greenhouse gases resulting from their production process and it was the starting point for implementing reduction actions which led to environmental benefits as well as to significant cost savings.
- publication of the guidelines “Local partnership for climate protection” for local governments (from municipal to regional level) which may wish to replicate this kind of collaboration on their territories;
- definition of a tool kit of operational instruments to support companies and institutions in their activities. Among these, guidelines for the calculation of the carbon footprint, the official GHG Protocol calculation sheets for carbon footprint estimation, the standard structure of corporate reporting for the climate, a collection of intervention models for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, a model structure for an energy audit and a check list for the realization of an energy audit. Study materials such as a report on environmental and energy legislation and one on eco-labels are also included.
Results in figures:
- 13 “pilot” companies involved in the public-private partnership in the Livorno Province;
- 17 “pilot” companies involved in the public-private partnership in the Ferrara Province;
- Direct involvement of business associations (5 in Livorno, 7 in Ferrara);
- Approximately 170.000 tons of CO2 equivalent as the companies’ impact in terms of greenhouse gas emissions (around 134.500 tons of CO2 equivalent in Livorno, around 25.500 tons of CO2 equivalent in Ferrara);
- Definition of 1 action plan for each local partnership, which includes specific commitments by each company (shutdown procedures of lights and refrigerators, installation of timers, etc.) on a general reduction of the CO2 emissions by 7,12% in Ferrara and by 7,53% in Livorno.