Recently, the French Parliament passed laws mandating all new buildings built in commercial zones in France to be partially covered in plants or solar panels. These green roofs will improve air quality, regulate building temperatures, mediate storm water storage and runoff, and give birds a place to land in the city.
Green Roofs are becoming increasingly popular globally, notably in Germany and Australia. Even though the idea is still growing in popularity in the U.S., there has been significant progress. Facebook in Menlo Park, California just built a huge 9-acre green roof. Last year, New York invested in green roof technology to mitigate sewage overflow.
This mandate for green roofs has been followed shortly after by another bold law in France. Supermarkets are now prohibited from wasting edible food. Not only are retailers not allowed to throw away unsold edible food, they must donate it to charity. The fines for not signing agreements with a charity by July 2016 are up to €75,000 (equivalent to $82,600 USD) or two years in jail.
This law prohibiting food waste is challenging the issue that up to a third of the world’s food is wasted This is just one part of the nation-wide campaign to cut the country’s food waste in half by 2025.
France is setting a great example of bringing in “Green” thinking into policy. The impact for sustainability progress is laudable. When governments encourage sustainability on a large scale, it shows a strong commitment to combatting some of the biggest issues of our time.