Swedish company eco-info centre proposed

EPA proposes central corporate environmental database to aid authorities, financial sector

Sweden should set up a national information centre on companies' environmental performance, the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said today. According to the EPA, there is increasing demand for environmental information about firms in Sweden, but there is no central data registry. Existing databases are "difficult to access" and "seldom complete" says Ulf Silvander, author of an EPA study. A central register would especially benefit the financial sector, as banks and insurance companies would be able to check that a company held all necessary environmental permits, the EPA claims. In the long term, financial institutions could use "environmental rating" in addition to credit rating when granting overdrafts to companies or setting premiums for investment, EPA deputy-director Mats Olsson said. The EPA proposes that the new Swedish Environmental Information Centre (SMIC) bring together existing information held by the government, municipal associations, the Swedish National Chemicals Inspectorate (KEMI), environmental courts and the contaminated land register, among others. This will be made possible by the new national Environmental Code (ENDS Daily 5 December 1997), which comes into force next year, which obliges companies to submit their corporate identity numbers to environmental regulatory bodies. Information on EMAS and ISO14001 certification should also be included in the SMIC, says the EPA.

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