5 May 2021
Directorate-General for Environment
Today, the European Commission is hosting the first meeting of the high-level roundtable on the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability, chaired by Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius and Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton. At this first meeting, members of the roundtable will exchange views on their role as ambassadors of the toxic-free environment and on the challenges and opportunities for the industrial transition to safe and sustainable chemicals.
The members of the high-level roundtable include leaders from Member States, industry, NGOs, international organisations and scientists, who will support the Commission in achieving the objectives of the strategy and monitor its implementation. Discussions will focus on how to make EU chemicals legislation more preventive and effective in terms of protecting health and the environment, and on boosting the development and uptake of chemicals, materials and products that are safe and sustainable by design. The roundtable will therefore support the Strategy’s vision of EU industry as a globally competitive player in the production and use of safe and sustainable chemicals, so that such chemicals become the norm on the EU market and a benchmark worldwide.
Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius said:
The Chemicals Strategy sets the ambitious goal of moving towards a toxic-free environment, where chemicals can deliver all their benefits without harming people and the planet. The only way to reach such a transformational agenda is to join forces with the main societal and economic actors. I am confident that the members of the Roundtable are fully committed to being ambassadors of change, and I am looking forward to driving this change together with them.
Commissioner for the Internal Market Thierry Breton said:
The transition to safe and sustainable chemicals is also a great economic opportunity for the EU chemical industry and its value chain. And it can only be achieved if industry, academia, civil society and public authorities join forces to support industry’s efforts in this transition. Today, we have therefore started the activities of the High Level Round table for guiding the implementation of the Chemicals strategy for sustainability. Back to back with the update of the Industrial strategy, and committed to delivering on both in a transparent, coherent and effective way.
Specific tasks of the Roundtable include developing a regular exchange of views, experiences and good practices between the Commission and stakeholders on the main objectives of the Strategy.
These objectives are namely:
- innovating for safe and sustainable chemicals, including for materials and products;
- addressing pressing environmental and health concerns;
- simplifying and consolidating the legal framework;
- providing a comprehensive knowledge base on chemicals;
- and setting the example for a global sound management of chemicals.
The European Commission published the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability on 14 October 2020. The strategy is the first pillar of the EU’s zero pollution ambition, which is a key commitment of the European Green Deal. The upcoming EU Action Plan: “Towards Zero Pollution for Air, Water and Soil” will set out an overarching, integrated vision for achieving a world where pollution is reduced to levels that are no longer harmful to human health and natural ecosystems, whilst respecting our planetary boundaries by 2050.
The Chemicals Strategy aims to boost innovation for safe and sustainable chemicals, and increase protection of human health and the environment against hazardous chemicals. It also announced that the Commission will establish a high-level roundtable to achieve the strategy’s objectives through dialogue with the stakeholders concerned. The 32 members of the roundtable include the Member State holding the presidency, three international organisations (OECD, WHO and UNEP), and 28 stakeholders from civil society, science and industry. The stakeholders were selected through a call for applications.