New EU green soft-touch opens door for PVC deal
BRUSSELS - The European Commission said has it wants to use less red tape to fight pollution by getting industry to take more voluntary action, and raised the possibility of negotiating a deal with the PVC sector.
The commission, which draws up the European Union\'s environmental laws, said it was open to the idea of more self-regulation as a way of getting quicker environmental benefits than can be achieved by issuing legislative diktats.
\"The commission wants to encourage business to engage in environmental agreements at Community (EU) level,\" EU Environment Commissioner Margot Wallstrom said.
The EU executive is eager to replicate agreements with industry like a deal struck in 1999 to get automakers to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from cars without the need for full-blown legislation.
Among the first companies to be targeted under the new approach are producers of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), the commission said in a 14-page document setting out the requirements for getting EU endorsement for industry action.
The PVC industry has already drawn up a voluntary initiative on reducing emissions and recycling waste in the hope of averting tough EU laws. The commission has yet to comment formally on the approach but officials say off the record that it does not go far enough.
Environmentalists, who believe PVC is a major pollutant, have lobbied the commission to reject such an approach and legislate against the plastic.
A senior commission official said industry may face mandatory targets for improving its environmental performance although the voluntary approach would be used in some areas.
\"We have said all along that there is going to be a mix of policies,\" the official told reporters.
The voluntary approach may also be used to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from light vans and in some areas of waste management, the document said.
REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
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