The Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability will both help to protect citizens and the environment better against hazardous chemicals and encourage innovation for the development of safe and sustainable alternatives. It will set a vision and a comprehensive framework for action where all parties — including industry — should work together to combine better health and environmental protection and increased global competitiveness.
This can be achieved by simplifying and strengthening the legal framework. The European Commission will review how to better use the EU’s agencies and scientific bodies to move towards a process of “one substance — one assessment” and to provide greater transparency when prioritizing action to deal with chemicals. In parallel, the regulatory framework will need to rapidly reflect scientific evidence on the risk posed by endocrine disruptors, hazardous chemicals in products including imports, combination effects of different chemicals, and very persistent chemicals.
The strategy will also support the EU’s strategic autonomy in the production of essential chemicals across key sectors and promote research and development for the sustainable transformation of the chemical industry and the creation of green and sustainable manufacturing capacity in Europe.
This strategy is delivered within the framework of the European Green Deal as a first step to move towards a zero-pollution ambition for a toxic-free environment, in synergy with the Zero Pollution Action Plan (planned in 2021). The zero-pollution ambition complements initiatives foreseen under the European Green Deal to protect biodiversity and to move towards a climate-neutral and circular economy.
The Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability will also support other priorities of the European Commission, in particular the digital transition, strengthening the EU’s competitiveness as well as its industrial and strategic autonomy, fighting cancer, ensuring Europe’s manufacturing and supply of safe and affordable medicines, developing markets for innovative companies, exploiting digitization for societal solutions, ensuring strict enforcement of EU’s legislation, and promoting the highest standards of environmental and health protection globally to also ensure safety and sustainability of chemicals and products imported into the EU.
Brenda Baney is CEO and founder of B Cubed Consulting.
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For more information, contact Lecedra Welch, AIAG’s program manager for environmental sustainability, at CR@aiag.org.