The European Commission unveiled its European Green Deal on Wednesday December 18th, which provides the strategic approach of the new Commission on environment for the next 5 years.
Below you’ll find an overview of the highlights for our industry:
Circular economy remains a priority for this new Commission. In March 2020, it will adopt a new circular economy action plan which the Commission is linking to the future EU industrial strategy, also to be presented in March 2020. A key aim will be to stimulate the development of lead markets for climate neutral and circular products. The Commission will request the mobilisation of all sectors and value chains.
The new Commission continues to focus on plastics. In addition to the implementation of measures on single use plastics, the Commission will address intentionally added released micro-plastics and unintentionally released plastics. On micro-plastics, ink suppliers confirmed that certain printing inks and varnishes (especially water-based) do include polymer dispersions or solutions but no plastic microparticles are released from the solid film, which is formed during drying or the inks or varnish.
A regulatory framework will also be developed for biodegradable and bio-based plastics.
The new Commission will develop requirements to ensure that all packaging in the EU market is reusable or recyclable in an economically viable manner by 2030. New targets and measures are also foreseen to tackle over-packaging.
Product policy and eco-design
A ‘sustainable products’ policy is announced. Legal requirements will be considered to boost the market of secondary raw materials with mandatory recycled content (including for packaging).
Extended producer responsibility will also be strengthened, incentivising producers to consider the eco-design of their products.
Product information and greenwashing
The Commission will tackle false green claims. Green claims will have to be substantiate against a standard methodology. An ‘electronic product passport’ is being considered, it would provide the origin, composition and end-of-life handling of the product.
The Commission also announces it will assess the need for more transparency on the environmental impact of electronic communication services.
A new EU forest strategy will be presented in 2020and promote the services that forests provide. It will address biodiversity aspects. The Commission will also take measures to promote imported products and value chains that do not involve deforestation and forest degradation – this commitment will support our advocacy for the inclusion of printed products in the EU Timber Regulation.
The new Commission has the aim to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. It will present the first European ‘climate law’ by March 2020. It aims at ensuring that all sectors play their part. It will also propose a carbon border adjustment mechanism where the price of imports reflect their carbon content. One way to reach the climate objectives will be to address the decarbonisation of the energy system. Energy efficiency will therefore be prioritised (including energy efficiency of plant buildings). The Commission will aim at securing an affordable EU energy supply for businesses and at the same time ensure that it is based largely on renewable sources.
Emissions and chemicals
The Commission will adopt a zero pollution action plan for air, water and soil in 2021. It will review the measures to address pollution from large industrial installations also in 2021. For printing, the revision has taken place and the new environmental requirements for large heatset, gravure and flexo printing plants will be adopted in 2020 and applicable as from 2024. The Commission will also present a chemicals strategy for sustainability in Summer 2020. It will address endocrine disruptors, hazardous chemicals in products including imports, combination effects of different chemicals and very persistent chemicals.
The new Commission will continue the work on taxonomy for classifying environmentally sustainable activities. It will ensure that companies focus less on short-term financial performance and more on long-term development and sustainability aspects. The non-financial reporting Directive will be review in 2020 to increase companies’ disclosure on climate and environmental data.
The Commission will also propose a Just Transition Mechanism, including a Just Transition Fund, which will focus on the regions and sectors that are most affected by the transition.
For detailed information, the Communication is available: https://ec.europa.eu/info/files/communication-european-green-deal_en (also available in DE and FR).
With the support of the Environment working group, Intergraf will continue following the above-mentioned areas.