As the rest of the globe gears up for World Environment Day on June 5, the European Union will recognise trail-blazing companies in the European Business Awards for the Environment.

12 organisations have been shortlisted for the awards, representing a wide spectrum of industries in the sector from environmental management systems to the hands-on production of renewable energy technologies (see related story).

While the winners are being lauded at the awards ceremony in Vienna, other Euro-environmentalists are meeting to discussing our impact on the continent’s wildlife as Green Week turns its attention to biodiversity.

Under the banner Biodiversity is Life! the Brussels-based Green Week 2006 boasts More than 20 conferences and side events that bring together leading decision-makers and experts from Europe and around the world to address the economic, social and environmental dimensions of biodiversity loss and how to reverse it.

“Conserving biodiversity is absolutely vital for our well-being and for our economic development, yet too often inadequately planned development damages or destroys the ecosystems on which we all depend,” said Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas.

“In Europe, 30-50% of our most notable groups of species – mammals, birds, fish, butterflies, etc – are now endangered.

“On Monday [May 29] I presented an action plan which, if fully and rapidly implemented, will allow the EU to deliver on its commitment to halt the loss of biodiversity in Europe by 2010.

“It is timely that Green Week will bring together many of the key actors to focus attention on how we can accomplish this urgent task, both in Europe and globally.”

Now in its sixth year, Green Week provides a unique opportunity for exchange of experience and best practice between representatives from different levels of government, business, international institutions, non-governmental organisations and the scientific and academic communities.

It is the biggest annual international event focusing on EU environment policies and participation is free.

Sam Bond

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