EU to boost reporting on firms' green spending

European Commission set to propose broader requirements on member states in revision of 1997 law

Expanded EU rules on government reporting of business environmental expenditure are on their way, ENDS Daily has learned. Member states must already report to the European Commission on aggregate corporate end-of-pipe pollution control spending. New rules soon to be proposed by the Commission will substantially deepen and broaden this requirement.

The proposal for an amendment to EU regulation 58/97 on business statistics has been developed by a statistical working group involving officials both from the Commission and the European statistics agency Eurostat. Inter-service consultations have just been completed, according to a source, and formal adoption of the proposal is expected soon. A demand by the Commission's environment directorate for more detailed data on corporate environmental spending was the main driver for the proposal, ENDS Daily was told.

In addition to end-of-pipe pollution control spending, the new rules will require member states to report annually on investment in integrated technologies - such as new facilities which are more cleaner or more energy efficient - and on operational expenditures such as employing staff to implement environmental protection or management policies.

The Commission will also propose requiring member states to break down environmental spending by businesses into four or five categories - such as climate change, air quality, water quality and waste management - and to break down environmental spending by industry.

The Commission's environment directorate yesterday released national corporate expenditure surveys from Portugal and Belgium aimed at assessing how an expansion of such reporting would work in practice (see links below). Some EU countries already produce reports that are more detailed than required under the current EU regulation, such as the UK (ENDS Daily 8 November 1999).

Follow Up:
European Commission, tel: +32 2 299 1111; Eurostat, tel: +352 43 01 11; Portuguese survey; Belgian survey.

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