German chemical firms promote green deals

Trade body takes out newspaper adverts to promote voluntary agreements to the rest of the EU

The German chemical industry has launched an advertising campaign to promote the use of voluntary agreements as a policy instrument to meet environmental goals. The industry association VCI took a full page advertisement in the latest issue of Brussels-based weekly newspaper European Voice explaining that, since the 1980s, the German chemicals industry has signed 30 "self-commitments". This type of policy instrument, it claims, is the quickest, cheapest and most flexible because it allows companies to chose the easiest ways of achieving environmental goals. The advertisement is part of VCI's effort to see voluntary agreements become a key part of EU-level policy making. In a position paper, the organisation suggests that member states be allowed to make agreements with industry instead of passing legislation when transposing EU directives. VCI's Petra Jeder told ENDS Daily that many countries, like France and the UK, had very little experience of using voluntary agreements and that they could learn from Germany. The advertisement appears at a time when many industry sectors are calling on the European Commission to make greater use of voluntary agreements, for example to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (ENDS Daily 9 October). The Commission and the car industry body Acea recently agreed one of the first agreements of this kind (ENDS Daily 6 October).

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