Ihobe rounds off its 40th anniversary by consolidating its leadership in decarbonisation and environmental improvement in the Basque Country

2024 April 24
  • The Basque Government's public environmental management company has published its corporate report for 2023, the year in which it celebrated its 40th anniversary, leading climate action, local sustainability and the circular economy in the Basque Country 
  • Last year, Ihobe mobilised almost 1,500 companies and carried out more than 2,000 actions with public entities on the circular economy, climate change, soil and green procurement 
  • Last year's corporate report highlighted milestones such as the approval of the 2030 Environmental Framework Programme, the Conference on Soil Protection in the Basque Country, SOILUZIOAK 2023, and the enactment of the first Basque Law on Energy Transition and Climate Change 
  • 43% of the procurement of products and services in the Basque public sector followed green public procurement criteria and almost twice as many companies became involved in the circular economy compared to 2022


The Basque Government's public environmental management company, Ihobe, today presented the most important data on its activity for 2023, the year in which it celebrated its 40th anniversary. The corporate report shows an increase in the actions carried out by Ihobe, with 1,467 actions aimed at the circular economy, climate change and contaminated soils. With a budget of 16.6 million, Ihobe's investment accounted for 14% of the public company’s total expenditure and, at the same time, set 1,906 actions in motion with public entities on climate change, soils, circular economy and green purchasing. 

Proof of this are the 28 new public entities that joined the 198 municipalities that make up the Basque Network of Sustainable Municipalities, Udalsarea 2030, which presented its Strategic Plan 2026 in 2023. As the technical secretariat of Udalsarea 2030, Ihobe has provided support to 67 municipalities in developing Climate and Energy Plans, while 14 municipalities and regions have joined forces to draw up a joint strategy to promote local action on the climate and energy transition in the Basque Country. As part of its work integrating environmental criteria into public policies, Ihobe has obtained good results in terms of promoting green public procurement: 43% of public sector products and services were procured following these criteria.


A year of celebration

2023 was a year marked by key milestones that coincided with Ihobe's 40th anniversary. “It was also the year in which the foundations were laid for the approval of the Basque Country's first Energy Transition and Climate Change Law in February 2024, the legal framework that will help bring the Basque Country into line with all the international regulations, policies and plans to which it has expressed its commitment and adherence, with the aim of achieving neutrality, resilience and a fair transition by 2050 at the latest.”, explained the general manager of Ihobe, Alexander Boto.

The milestones for 2023 also included the Basque Country Environmental Framework Programme 2030 (EFP 2030), approved in March 2023. This will be the guide for Basque environmental policy until the end of the decade via six challenges and eight projects, which will deal with implementing policies, health, competitive sustainability, the conscious model of consumption, sustainable financing and advanced monitoring and management across the board, involving the Administration, companies and the general public. According to Boto, “it will have an impact on various areas of activity in the region through a coordinated effort by a large number of Basque Government Departments, because it is becoming increasingly clear that the environment transcends environmental policy”.

Last year also saw the Conference on Soil Protection in the Basque Country, SOILUZIOAK 2023, which showed that the Basque Country is one of the most advanced regions in Europe in this field. The event brought together more than 300 experts from international organisations such as the FAO, the European Commission and the European Environment Agency. It also laid the groundwork for moving towards integrated management of soil protection and “building the partnerships required to achieve zero net land degradation by 2050”.


Climate action, sustainability and adaptation

In 2023, Ihobe continued to develop LIFE IP Urban Klima 2050, the largest climate action project in the Basque Country, which reached its halfway point last year. The Basque Country also demonstrated its leadership in this field by taking part in another European project, Regions4Climate, aimed at making progress in adapting the region to the effects of climate change. This new project, led by the Basque Government and Ihobe, which includes Tecnalia, Azti and Zabala, started in January 2023 and involves 12 European regions who are developing and testing their own resilience plans and transformative adaptation pathways. More specifically, the Basque Country will recover several areas of marshland in the Bay of Txingudi, which will mean taking the first steps in the Basque Mission on Adaptation to Climate Change, in line with the EU Mission. 

As far as sustainability is concerned, it is worth noting initiatives such as the fifth edition of ASTEKLIMA, the Basque Country Climate and Energy Week, promoted by Ihobe and EVE. 279 activities were held under the slogan 'Every action, no matter how small, counts’ involving 56 town councils, four communities of municipalities and three councils, encompassing a population of 935,665 inhabitants. As a novelty, the initiative had its own event, ASTEKLIMA Azoka, a travelling fair that visited nine Basque municipalities and brought together more than 1,700 people.

Meanwhile, the Ekoetxea Network of Environmental Centres in the Basque Country, which is managed by Ihobe, welcomed 132,771 people who are part of the change through their participation in the experiments that promote change and the commitment of citizens to sustainability. One of the most significant events was World Environment Day with a large waste collection event at Ekoetxea centres: more than 400 volunteers of all ages removed 3.1 tonnes of rubbish from the environment. In addition to the initiatives undertaken by the Ekoetxea Network, Ihobe launched new initiatives aimed at citizens such as ‘Let's Clean Up Euskadi’, as a result of the ‘Let's Clean Up Europe!’ initiative, which was part of the European Week for Waste Prevention.


Circular economy

In terms of the circular economy, Ihobe's corporate report noted that ITP Aero and Petronor had joined the Basque Ecodesign Center, a public-private alliance of reference in southern Europe in the fields of eco-design and the circular economy, which is coordinated by Ihobe and Spri and includes 18 large Basque companies. Ihobe published the ‘Strategic environmental monitoring report: the 10 keys to the circular economy for 2024’ through the Basque Ecodesign Center, summarising the 10 key challenges relating to the European Green Deal in the short and medium term for the business fabric in the circular economy. Furthermore, a new training programme was launched in 2023 involving more than 400 companies in this area through the Basque Circular Hub, advanced circular economy service centres located in Bilbao and Vitoria-Gasteiz. The initiative was carried out in collaboration with Confebask and all the intermediate agents involved in the Basque Circular SME initiative. Up to 9 courses were given that addressed topics such as environmental diagnosis tools, life cycle analysis tools, and packaging ecodesign in the new regulatory framework.


About Ihobe

Ihobe is the Basque Government's public environmental management company which is attached to the Basque Government's Department of Economic Development, Sustainability and the Environment.  Its aim is to improve the environment, integrating environmental criteria into Basque public policies as a competitive element of value for the Basque Country and its organisations.

The corporate report highlighted the importance of the people who make up Ihobe, an organisation that is committed to transparency, good governance and gender equality. The team is currently made up of 59 people (43 women and 16 men), with an average age of 48.5, 86% of whom have higher education qualifications. 84% of Ihobe employees are satisfied with their job performance in the organisation.


All of Ihobe's results, and its most important achievements in 2023, can be found in the 2023 corporate report (available in digital version)

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