Packaging industry defends CEN standards
European packaging industry association Europen today issued
a robust defence of standards for packaging developed by
standardisation body CEN, after environmentalists last week
described them as "inadequate". The body urged the European
Commission to "expedite" their adoption as EU harmonised
standards to "eliminate legal uncertainty" for the packaging
industry and governments.
Finalised in April (ENDS Daily 27 April), the CEN standards
were developed under a mandate from the Commission to
provide detailed guidance on how packaging producers could
comply with a set of "essential requirements" defined in the
1994 packaging directive.
Drafting was a long and difficult process that failed to
satisfy all sides - Denmark and Belgium have both objected
to the final outcome. More recently, strong attacks on the
standards were launched by Commission waste officials (ENDS
Daily 26 September) and EU environmentalist coalition EEB
(ENDS Daily 5 October).
Europen today rejected claims made by both groups that CENs
decision to adopt a management control system approach
rather than pass/fail criteria undermined the standards
ability to ensure environmental protection, and that
environmental groups had been frozen out of CENs
An analysis by CEN shows that it did not ignore comments
from the EEB, Europen said. Moreover, the group had been
invited to all CEN meetings for more than five years.
Julian Carroll of Europen said he had "sympathy" with the
EEBs complaint that it did not have the financial resources
to participate in CEN, but claimed that the result was that
packaging had become "caught in the cross-fire between
environmental organisations and regulators".
Mr Carroll defended CENs decision to adopt a management
control system approach to the standards, which he claimed
would do more to raise environmental performance than
"command and control regulation". Had quantified
requirements been chosen then "you would need about 50,000
standards," which would then be impossible to alter quickly
enough to keep up with industrial innovation, he said.
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