Incentives for environmentally friendly products

Claire Monkhouse from the IEEP looks at the latest developments at the European Commission

A draft of the White Paper on Integrated Product Policy (IPP), which was expected to be released in summer 2002, has been leaked to the public. The objective of the initiative is to reduce the environmental impacts of products throughout their lifecycle, including product design, processes and disposal.

Although the final content of the Communication may change before it is adopted, it does give an indication of current Commission thinking. It is hoped that IPP will establish the framework conditions for the continuous environmental improvement of all products throughout their life cycle, including legislation on green public procurement, voluntary agreements with industry, and the use of financial instruments, including taxes and subsidies. There is a suggestion that the Commission will re-examine whether to apply reduced rates of VAT to products with the EU eco-label, and will encourage Member States to establish their own tax reduction measures for greener products. The White Paper is expected to be released this summer.

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