Spanish industry warms to green awards

Entries to national environmental awards for industry up two-thirds in one year

Growing interest among Spanish companies in getting recognition for environmental initiatives has been revealed by national awards presented yesterday in Madrid. Two-thirds more entries were received than last year, said green business organisation Fundación Entorno and the Spanish industry ministry, the scheme's main organiser and sponsor. The increase reflected a "growing pride of Spanish industry" to be recognised as "working towards better environmental standards," an organiser told ENDS Daily.

Four awards were presented yesterday, in waste recovery, cleaner technology, environmental management and eco-design categories. The winners, which were selected out of 105 entries from 75 firms, will now go forward to this year's European-level environment awards for industry. Spanish companies have never won an award in the European EBEAFI scheme, which was launched in 1987, though firms received special recommendations in 1992 and 1996.

The cleaner technology award was won by a new power station, currently in its final commissioning stages, which will generate electricity from coal using an integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) system. Several leading European power companies have stakes in the Elcogás power station, including Endesa of Spain, Electricité de France and the British firm National Power.

The 320MW capacity station will generate electricity with significantly lower emissions than conventional coal-burning plant thanks to the IGCC technology, which involves gasifying coal and removing sulphur and particulates before the gas is burnt to produce electricity. The plant will also be more efficient, a spokesperson for Elcogás told ENDS Daily, producing 20% less carbon dioxide than a conventional coal-burning station.

Spanish packaging company Nature Pack won the eco-design award for novel commercial food packaging containers made of polypropylene and an inner layer of rice husks. Marketed for the export of fish and vegetables, the containers have a reduced life-cycle environmental impact and are easily recyclable, the judges said.

Nature Pack developed the containers with financial support from the EU LIFE programme and claims to be the first company to develop such a design. About 15m of the containers were manufactured last year, which the firm hopes to increase to 50m by 1999. "This would make us a significant player in Spain's agricultural packaging market," a spokesperson told ENDS Daily today.

Automatic switch manufacturers Medex won the environmental management award for its participation in the EMAS scheme. It is one of the first companies in Spain to sign up to the EU initiative for company eco-auditing. The waste recovery award went to Alúmina Española, an affiliation of Alcoa.

Follow Up:
Fundación Entorno, tel: +34 1 575 6394.

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