Refrion srl (www.refrion.com) is a centre of excellence for innovation located in Friuli-Venezia Giulia region, north-east of Italy. Since its foundation dated about 14 years ago, it has shown impressive and costant growth and has already achieved important goals in technological innovation and environmental sustainability fields.
According to its CEO, Daniele Stolfo, continuous investments in most advanced and latest generation products and customers’ satisfaction are of paramount importance for such outstanding perfomance. Group’s plants are strategically placed in north-east of Italy and Austria which make up the so-called “Cooling district”. It is considered the heart of modern Europe gathering the highest concentration of companies operating in air heating and cooling sector.
Paniculata is a Spanish fashion brand created by Gabriela Rose in 2013. During her years in college, Gabriela, a fashion, and graphic design graduate, learned everything she needed in order to create, launch and grow her business by herself. It all started with a collection of denim shirts, “My Angel”. And so kind was her angel, that Gabriela’s first line evolved into the brand which now covers accessories, menswear, and children’s clothes. Despite her success, Gabriela wants to own a brand which is exclusive, unique, and environmentally-friendly. In 2014, Paniculata included in its portfolio men’s clothes made out of organic cotton materials. After 3 years on the market, the Spanish brand keeps its core target, women aged between 25 and 50, with exquisite taste in clothes, but tries to cater to the needs of a more diverse audience. What all the customers need to have in common is just the desire to wear something different, something original, in one word, handmade.
A strong voice for the development of the European regions - Interview with Bulgarian MEP Iskra Mihaylova
Iskra Mihaylova, an experienced MEP from Bulgaria, is the Chair of the Committee for Regional Development, and also a member of the FEDRA Honorary Committee. As a representative of the regional sphere in the EU, and a devoted militant for the development of the non EU-member states, she agreed to have FEDRA in her Parliament office and talk about her work in the REGI Committee and at the delegations to the EU of the Neighbourhood Countries of Macedonia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. The interview started with the topic of the priorities of the Committee for Regional Development. According to Mrs Mihaylova, the focus is on obtaining the best results from the current planning period and to prepare the path for the next legislation concerning the cohesion policy after 2020. Implementation, simplification, and coordination are the key words in Mihaylova’s speech and also the link between the several proposals drafted by the parliamentary committee.
At the beginning of December, the city of Catania had the opportunity to rethink the economy not as an end in itself but as one of the resources to be deployed for the common good.
‘FESTIVAL DELLA FELICITÀ INTERNA LORDA TERRE’ which took place from the 2nd to the 4th of December in Catania, gave its citizens a time to reflect together on the ways to inhabit the earth (terra). Earth is of course the planet, but at the same time it is the ground on which we rest our feet and relax to contemplate the sky, it is where we build our houses, it gives us the land we cultivate, the places from which we take off and return to, our "cultural homelands", the bonds we build in this world, that make us feel accomplished because they give meaning to our lives. This is why we like to decline the word in the plural, TERRE (lands), because it symbolises the plurality of all forms of life, the plurality of cultures, of the multiple stories of those who live on this planet and the multiple ways that are at people’s disposal to build their culture, art, religion, families.
The participants in this event discussed social entrepreneurship to understand what models can better respond to the challenges of the welfare of their territories and of the planet. The festival was an opportunity to set in motion social enterprise ideas and stories by engaging both the growth actors of the local communities and those who fled their regions. The latter are spread all over the Earth to gather knowledge, to build their experience, in order to bring more to their homeland. In fact, this year the Festival affiliated to the European project FAB-MOVE, "For a Better Tomorrow: Social Enterprises on the Move", which aims to put in connection researchers and entrepreneurs from different countries to explore together the way social enterprises can grow and flourish.
Gunter Pauli, Belgian economist and blue Economy Initiator, Flaviano Zandonai, Researcher at the European Research Institute on Cooperative and Social Enterprises Euricse, Rossano Ercolini, coordinator of the Center for Research on Waste in Capannori and the President of Zero Waste Europe were among the main orators of this festival. Their presence drew the attention of a wide public to the host region, thus boosting its image.
Aida Amir Aslani - YLR in Catania
Francesco Foglia, FEDRA YRA in Calabria and a journalist in European Affairs based in both Brussels and Italy, participated in the Youth Essay Competition held as part of the SME Assembly 2016 in Bratislava, Slovakia.
Food waste is one environment related problem threatening the future of the planet. Worldwide there is a big discrepancy between areas menaced by starvation, and those with a thriving economy and a high quality of life. Food waste is just a symptom of the unbalanced, unfair world we live in. In order to bring everything to a state of equilibrium, and to gain distance from a more uneven future, the EU is currently drafting the European sustainable food policy.
On November 28, at the Committee of the Regions, the issue of food production was addressed in a comprehensive way meant to contribute to the opinion on sustainable EU food policy the CoR is drafting. France and other EU states have already adopted laws to monitor and reduce food waste, and it seems like the EU is trying to spread this practice to all its member states. But there are, of course, problems to be faced and questions to be addressed: how could an integrated EU sustainable food policy be reinforced?, how important is it to set individual “sustainability targets”?, how stakeholders can be involved to improve the governance in food policy? etc.
The Romanian region of Neamț, 27 years after the communist era, is still experiencing a deep transition towards a more sustainable and durable economy.
From the big state-owned factories in Săvinești, in great part dismembered by private competitors as a result of the disorganised turn towards the market economy that caused a deep deindustrialisation and emigration of the youth, Neamț is now raising its head and starts looking at the touristic potential and how to stimulate the local businesses.
In December 2015, in Paris, 195 countries committed to join the global fight against climate change. The main objective of this first-ever universal, and legally binding agreement was to limit global temperature rise at 2 degrees by 2030. The current effects of global warming are visible in daily meteorological changes and natural phenomena worldwide. Even though opinions on the actual cause of different natural dissasters oftenly witnessed in the last periods are contradictory, climate change is a real problem the whole planet should fix.
The Hauts-de-France region is famous worldwide for its lace, especially in the cities of Calais and Caudry. The story of the lace of Calais dates back to the times of the industrial revolution, and is connected to the first mechanical weaving looms powered by steam engines. The lace was initially a luxury product for the rich. However, thanks to the technical and the industrial progresses, the production and commercialisation of lace increased considerably, which made the lace of Calais become more and more popular. The fact that it started to be sold in several cities across the Pacific, including New York, Boston, Chicago, helped increase the visibility of the city and of the whole region.
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