The number of EU health, safety and environment related regulations directly applicable to the EU chemicals industry, has nearly doubled in the last ten years to more than 1,700 legal acts in place today. Current studies conducted for the European Commission suggest that there is a significant cumulative cost to industry, and a negative impact on international competitiveness.
As an industry, we support quality regulation which is efficient and effective, and achieves its public health, safety and environmental objectives in a proportionate, consistent and balanced manner. We therefore fully support the first steps taken by the European Commission towards the ‘Better Regulation Principles” objective under the REFIT program. In our view, regulation needs to be carefully framed so that it takes into account the cumulative costs and (socio-) economic impact, and that it can achieve its objectives without damaging industrial competitiveness and innovation.
This can be done by always considering the best available science and risk management practices, and by keeping innovation right at the centre of the policy process. Furthermore, it is vital to remove duplication and incoherence and to refrain from adding unnecessary complexity or costs. In addition, the framework should allow for transparency and stakeholder consultation, and for regulations to be promptly and efficiently amended if new, solid evidence becomes available.
Such ‘Better Regulation Principles’ must be applied to existing and emerging EU regulations, including key environmental and chemicals legislation, such as:
Dow has fully implemented REACH in all our customer and supply chain relationships, and is preparing to meet the next registration deadline of May 2018.
We believe that the forthcoming REACH review (2017) should focus on the effectiveness of current and future REACH implementation and that it is not necessary to reopen the REACH legislative package.
Dow is firmly committed to the Circular Economy under our 2025 Sustainability Goals. We believe the EU Circular Economy Package can provide European industry with a significant opportunity for innovation, competitiveness and growth. As an industry, we have considerable experience of advancing circularity in our own plants and operations.
However, if the Circular Economy is to support European industrial innovation, competitiveness and growth, it must be firmly based on lifecycle analysis and an integrated value chain approach, recognizing that energy recovery can often be the most effective means of minimizing waste and maximizing the value of materials on a life cycle basis.
We support the Commission’s efforts to define scientific criteria for identifying endocrine disruptors. These criteria will help to identify those substances that can cause potential harm, to ensure that people and the environment can be properly protected (through regulatory measures). This will provide clarity and predictability to our industry and customers, as well as to authorities and the public. Society can then benefit from a range of useful products in full confidence.
In our view, the definitive evaluation criteria to determine whether a substance is an endocrine disruptor should use the World Health Organization (WHO) definition of an ‘endocrine disruptor’ as a basis, and should be science-based and proportionate, thereby considering the potency, severity, (ir)reversibility and adversity of its effect on the endocrine system.
Our input to the Commission’s public consultation can be viewed here.
ED Consultation Submitted Jan 2015 (110KB PDF)
Such an approach will help avoid restrictions on chemical substances that would lead to the loss of useful products with no gain in chemical safety for people or the environment.
Implementation of the IED through sector-specific Best Availability Technology Reference Documents (BAT/BREF) can often give rise to substantial capital expenditures with little or no economic benefit and marginal (at best) improvements in environmental performance. International competitiveness can readily be put at risk and national ‘gold plating’ can magnify this effect.
We strongly believe that all significant BAT/BREF should be subject to economic and competitiveness impact assessment and that BAT/BREF should not be treated only as a technical ‘rule making’ exercise.