EIC: We must make economy more efficient

The government has already implemented a number of legislative and fiscal drivers directed towards sustainable production and resource efficiency.

The temptation may, therefore, be to now focus on the challenges of encouraging more sustainable consumption patterns. However a report published by EIC’s Waste Resources Management Working Group concludes that government progress with improving the UK economy’s resource efficiency is falling well short of what is required to boost competitiveness and tackle critical environmental challenges. Rather than resting on its laurels, therefore, EIC considers it is time for the Government to review and invigorate its policy framework to drive resource efficiency. EIC’s report offers a number of key policy recommendations which, if adopted, will boost UK competitiveness while tackling the critical environmental challenges facing the UK today.

Firstly, the report urges the government to ensure that the second phase of the EU Emissions Trading scheme is designed to reduce emissions in line with the government’s goal of a 20% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2010 on 1990 levels. Secondly, it recommends an increase in tax incentives for companies purchasing the most environmentally preferable products. Thirdly, the report concluded that the government should retain the Operating and Financial Review (OFR) and make it a legal requirement for companies to report on environmental issues.

Reach Guide Updated

The European Commission has published updated guidance to the EU’s regulatory framework for the Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals (Reach) in order to take into account the political agreement that was reached on the regulations by ministers in December last year.

The guidance document explains and comments on every aspect of the draft law. As part of this, and with regards to the evaluation of chemicals, the commission has outlined that the European Chemicals Agency shall develop criteria for prioritising substances for substance evaluation. Substance evaluations can be performed when there is reason to believe that a substance may present a risk to human health or the environment.

An objective of Reach is to promote research and development and innovation. As part of the guidance, the commission has outlined how it intends to achieve this. For example, by allowing substances manufactured or imported for the purposes of product to be exempt from registration for up to five years. This exemption is renewable for a further five years for those substances used in medicinal products.

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