The Comitato Ecolabel Ecoaudit committee issued, to the Comitato Promotore del Distretto Conciario Toscano committee, acknowledgement (national EMAS qualification) of the status of Ambito Produttivo Omogeneo (Homogeneous Production Area), as the outcome of a lengthy, complex procedure (which, in any case, envisages further, ambitious objectives).
The “EMAS territoriale” or “distrettuale” approach (territory/district EMAS approach) – which has been viewed with considerable approval both in Italy and the European Union – found in the regional context of Tuscany a fulcrum for its development. In the early 2000s, the tanners’ association and consortium, the Associazione Conciatori and the Consorzio Conciatori (and a limited number of the other trade associations of Tuscan districts) petitioned the offices of the Regional government authority in favour of an experimental initiative that, thanks to the firm support of this authority, in a very few years, successfully (and most impressively) finalized the “Modello Toscano per l’applicazione dell’EMAS ai distretti industriali” (Tuscan model for application of EMAS to industrial districts).
The method was then developed and concretized during the early stages of implementation, with participation in the IMAGINE project. The Associazione and the Consorzio, as well as the province, Provincia di Pisa, and the municipalities of the tannery district (as “Comitato Promotore” committee of the local EMAS) managed to test the method’s efficacy in the field, thereby completing the environmmental excellence procedure necessary for attainment of the certificate of Ambito Produttivo Omogeneo, evisaged nationally by the Comitato Ecolabel Ecoaudit committee.
This activity concurrently enabled greater diffusion of voluntary environmental certification among the SMEs, which, in the tannery district, responded to the call with the support of analytic and managerial instrument made available by the district EMAS. Indeed, the very first EMAS registrations ever of five tanneries came about within this context.
The web site, www.conciambiente.it, was created as a further stimulus to small and medium-sized enterprises, regarding responsible environmental management practices and regarding also the steps leading up to − and instruments for attainment of − environmental certification. This was made possible by collaboration among various players: the environmental and innovation body, Azienda Speciale Pisa Ambiente Innovazione; the Chamber of Commerce of Pisa; the tanners’ trade association, Associazione Conciatori; the tanners’ consortium, Consorzio Conciatori di Ponte ad Egola, Ecocerved (Chambers of Commerce environmental information body); and the Scuola di Studi Superiore Sant’Anna (Pisa).
Over and above commitment to environmental efforts, with indications, comments etc., the district has also played a part in public debate and development of specific category rules governing calculation of the environmental footprints of the tanning sector’s products (product environmental footprint rules (PEFCR), drawn up and officially ratified in 2018).
The Distretto Conciario Toscano was also a major player in implementing a database of chemical substances, necessary for calculation of the environmental impact of the said substances and for improved management and use of the same.
These activities make up a part of a working model for the entire District, whose guiding principles are attention to environmental concerns; worker safety and wellbeing; competitiveness of member enterprises; and ongoing improvement of the District’s performance ratings.
THE ACTIVITIES OF THE COMITATO PROMOTORE (PROPONENT COMMITTEE) WITH REGARD TO EMAS AND LCA
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