Chemical industry realities not part of EU's flowery vision
17 Oct 2012
London – The world will, sooner rather than later, live in ecologically-sound harmony with higher prosperity and quality of life – all thanks to the EU policies to fundamentally change the way we produce and consume, and “start living within the physical and biological limits of the planet.”
This worthy vision of “resource efficiency” was presented at CEFIC’s recent annual meeting by Janez Poto?nik – the first EU environment commissioner to attend the European chemical industry gathering.
The CEFIC event was held in London, but the commissioner’s would likely have been more warmly received by chemical makers based in North America, Asia and other non-EU areas.
The many chemical industry bosses in the audience wanted to hear more about the chances of regulatory respite to help them deal with the mundane challenges of keeping in business – not least in the midst of a global recession.
These challenges include competing with non-EU manufacturers unburdened by REACH – which CEFIC leaders described as “the world’s most complex and expensive chemicals legislation” – high carbon taxes, or endless regulatory barriers to the development of potentially game-changing technologies, such as nanoscience.
Commissioner Poto?nik said his presence at the event in London reflected a significant change in the relation between industry and the environment, between industrial policy and environmental policy.
However, EU policy makers need to take on board the realties faced by manufacturers if, as the commissioner said, he wants to ensure that Europe’s chemical industry has a bright, competitive and sustainable future.