Table of Contents
Quotation: Frank Pothen (2013): Introduction to the environmental Impact Area The environmental consequences of firms and consumers: http://beta.liaise-toolbox.eu/node/1216
Industrial activities play an important role in the economic well-being of Europe contributing to sustainable growth. However, industrial activities also have a significant impact on the environment. The largest industrial installations account for a considerable share of total emissions of key atmospheric pollutants and also have other important environmental impacts, including emissions to water and soil, generation of waste and the use of energy.
An important approach for measuring and reducing the environmental consequences of firms' activities makes them subject to an environmental assessment, on the basis of Directive 85/337/EEC ('Environmental Impact Assessment' – EIA Directive) or for public plans or programmes on the basis of Directive 2001/42/EC ('Strategic Environmental Assessment' – SEA Directive).
Note that the Impact Area ‘The environmental consequences of firms and consumers’ is connected to some of the specific aspects of economic, social and environmental impacts listed in Annex 8 of the Commission’s Impact Assessment Guidelines.
Annex 8.3 (Impacts on consumers) displays links to the guiding questions a) and b). It is to be asked additionally, if the option is likely to alter consumption patterns into more or less sustainable ones.
Annex 8.4 deals with impacts on SMEs. It might be the case that the option implies different incentives for SMEs than for larger firms, affecting the environmental consequences of firms more or less strongly depending on their size. Annex 8.4 provides procedures which can be used to analyze that.
Annex 8.5 is related to the impacts on technological development and innovation. This is closely linked to guiding question d) alluding to eco-innovation. Annex 8.5 provides an ‘Innovation Check-List’ which can be used to analyze, among others, effects on eco-innovation.
Annex 8.6 (Impacts on firms in terms of investment, operating costs, products and services) is linked to guiding question c). While costs, ability, and timing of financing in general are mentioned already, guiding question c) implies that it should be checked if the production and consumption of environmentally friendly goods is affected specifically.
This impact area is further specified by the taxonomy terms: Sustainable Production and Consumption, Production Prices of Environmental Goods, Environmental Incentives and Restrictions as well as Firms´ Pollution.
The European Commission has adopted a wide range of regulatory measures to improve environmental performance of industry and to enhance technology development: The reform of the European Chemicals Policy for example, is a central reform project of European Industrial and Environmental Policy (the REACH - European Community Regulation on chemicals and their safe use (EC 1907/2006)). The aim of REACH is to improve the protection of human health and the environment through the better and earlier identification of the intrinsic properties of chemical substances. At the same time, innovative capability and competitiveness of the EU chemicals industry should be enhanced.
An important approach for measuring and reducing the environmental consequences of firms' activities makes them subject to an environmental assessment (for individual projects on the basis of Directive 85/337/EEC, for public plans or programmes on the basis of Directive 2001/42/EC). The common principle of both Directives is to ensure that plans, programmes and projects likely to have significant effects on the environment are made subject to an environmental assessment, prior to their approval or authorisation.
To encourage European industry to implement environmentally sound policies, the EU has put several initiatives in place. The European Awards for the Environment, which takes place every two years, recognises the achievements of European firms that have designed innovative products, implemented successful environmental management programmes or worked on ground breaking projects with developing countries.
This text is for information only and is not designed to interpret or replace any reference documents.
Legal basis for the Commission to act
- REACH – Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemical substances: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/chemicals/reach/reach_intro.htm
- Environmental Impact Assessment: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/eia/home.htm
- Strategic Environmental Assessment: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/eia/home.htm
- IPPC – Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/air/pollutants/stationary/ippc/index.htm
- IPP – Integrated Product Policy: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/ipp/
- GPP – Green Public Procurement: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/gpp/index_en.htm
- ETAP – Environmental Technologies Action Plan: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/etap/index_en.htm
- EMAS – Eco-Management and Audit Scheme: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/emas/index_en.htm
- European Ecolabel scheme: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/ecolabel/
- EU ETS-European Emission Trading System: http://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/ets/index_en.htm
- European Pollutant Emissions Register and Transfer Register: http://prtr.ec.europa.eu/
Publications and applications
Content for this term
|Farm System Simulator(Part of SEAMLESS)||Model||2013-11-26 08:29|
|Mari Jüssi||Expert||2014-03-17 12:26|
|Peterson, Kaja||Expert||2014-03-05 09:38|
|Pothen, Frank||Expert||2014-03-18 18:34|
|Reis, Stefan||Expert||2013-10-29 13:28|
|The environmental consequences of firms and consumers||Impact Area||2014-01-22 16:31|