Dear First Executive Vice-President Timmermans,
We, the undersigned, warmly welcome your commitment to developing a Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability (CSS) as part of the zero pollution ambition towards a toxic-free environment under the European Green Deal. In particular, we welcome your pledge to deliver a “transformative policy” to “protect citizens and the environment better against hazardous chemicals and encourage innovation for the development of safe and sustainable alternatives,” to “transforming the chemical industry into a greener and healthier business model” and “to provide “a future proof and ambitious strategy that ensures health, environmental and economic resilience.”
It is the first time since the publication of the White Paper on the Strategy for a future Chemicals Policy, 20 years ago, that the EU has looked to the future of chemicals policy. The Chemical Strategy for Sustainability needs to be the most transformative improvement to chemical safety laws since the adoption of the REACH Regulation in 2006. This ambitious vision has been repeatedly endorsed by EU member governments and the European Parliament in a resounding vote this month.
Building on multiple studies, including a wide range of policy evaluation activities, delivered over the last decade, DG Environment prepared a draft Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability. Although not as ambitious as we expected (see Annex I), this draft takes on board most of the asks from the European Council and the European Parliament to advance towards a toxic-free environment.
However, last week several media outlets (Annex II) revealed that DG Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship, and SMEs (DG GROW) is looking to redraft and substantially lower the ambition of the proposal by DG Environment (DG ENV), stripping back measures essential to the delivery on the zero- pollution objective.