European business briefs: Italian sustainability, German oil risk, Green Sweden, German wind plant, Solar power in Copenhagen

TIM, the Italian leader in mobile telephony, has just posted a new Sustainability section on its website. This uses a range of metrics to describe TIM's social, environmental and economic performance in the areas of customer satisfaction, employee and community initiatives and environmental management. The main objectives of the company's Sustainability Plan, which links directly to its overall business strategy to 2006, are: environmental protection through the use of clean energy where practical; to fulfil the community plan - 'TIM: un Mondo per Tutti', which is directed mainly at young people and the elderly and disabled; and adoption of the SA8000 ethical workplace standard together with increased employee benefits.

Global growth will be at risk if oil prices remain at current levels, German Finance Minister Hans Eichel said in a statement this week, blaming speculation rather than fundamental factors for driving up the cost of crude. He also stated that the federal government was sticking to its 2004-2005 growth outlook for Germany, despite tax revenues remaining a risk for its budget.

A new OECD report praises the innovative and effective environmental policies of Sweden. For instance, Sweden makes good use of economic incentives to protect the environment, including environmental taxes, and is on track to meet its Kyoto Protocol commitment to limit greenhouse gas emissions. The OECD notes, however, that Sweden needs to further progress towards its environmental objectives and to better integrate environmental concerns into the industry, energy, transport, forestry, and agriculture sectors. Sweden’s Minister of the Environment, Lena Sommestad, and the OECD’s Environment Director, Lorents Lorentsen, release the OECD Environmental Performance Review of Sweden on 1st October 2004.

A town in northern German is helping to build the world’s largest wind power plant, which will be a prototype for offshore wind farms from 2006. The wind farm is being built on a site in Brunsbuettel, and will be positioned next door to an old nuclear power plant, representing the past and future of generating cleaner electricity. The turbines are expected to generate around 17 GWh of electricity a year, which is enough to power about 4,500 average German households.

And finally, a number of solar energy demonstration projects have been implemented in Copenhagen area. In cooperation with other stakeholders, the City of Copenhagen has established Solar City Copenhagen, an organisation designed to meet new objectives and visions in the surrounding region and set a foundation for more extensive local use of solar power.

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