This article is the first in a series, which we introduced in a previous Blog Post, exploring the “jargon” of the EU Commission’s Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability (CSS), an ambitious political action plan for chemicals regulation in the EU that was released in October 2020.

As part of this political initiative toward a profound reshape of the existing chemicals regulatory framework, the concept of “safe and sustainable by design” is fairly innovative and could well become one of the pillars of chemicals regulation in the EU. In a nutshell, the Commission calls in its CSS for a “transition” to chemicals that are safe and sustainable by design in order to reconcile the societal value of chemicals with human health and planetary boundaries. The Commission presents the “sustainable-by-design” concept as a holistic approach to achieve these objectives: it seeks to integrate “safety, circularity, energy efficiency and functionality of chemicals, materials, products, and processes throughout their life cycle and minimiz[e] the environmental footprint”. It is aimed at constituting an overarching concept, i.e., a guiding principle in the regulation of the chemicals sector.

This ambitious goal will have important concrete consequences for the industry. At the same time the safe and sustainable by design approach is advocated by the EU executive as an opportunity for the European industry to act as frontrunner in a stammering race for the production and use of safe and sustainable chemicals.

Continue reading for more information on the current state of play regarding “safe and sustainable by design”, the development of this important concept and next steps for related regulatory and political action.


Continue Reading “Safe and Sustainable by Design”: The Inception of a Possible Game-Changer in the Regulation of Chemicals in the EU

The EU Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability Towards a Toxic-Free Environment (CSS) announces the “new long term vision for the EU’s chemical policy’” intended to achieve a toxic-free environment through the “production and use of safe and sustainable chemicals”. In line with the objectives of the EU Green Deal, this ambitious political document is expected to deeply reshape the current EU chemicals regulatory framework for the next decade.

The Commission published the CSS in October 2020. It lays out more than 50 wide-ranging actions that will have a direct impact on the EU chemicals regulatory framework, listed for completion between 2020 and 2024. It is accompanied by a detailed Action Plan listing the key areas of action and the expected legislative initiatives and providing an indicative timing accordingly. We detailed some of the main initiatives regarding REACH and the CLP in a previous blog post, following the European Commission’s roadmap on the targeted revisions to REACH and CLP, which can be accessed here.

Continue reading for more details and analysis regarding the CSS and the future of sustainability in the EU chemicals industry.


Continue Reading Exploring the “Jargon” of the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability: A Glance at the Future of Chemicals Regulation in the EU

The EU Green Deal announces a zero pollution ambition for a toxic-free environment that should be achieved, among other ways, through ambitious actions against the most hazardous chemicals and enhanced engagement in innovation for the development of safe and sustainable alternatives. One of the first deliverables of this far-reaching policy program is the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability (CSS), which involves important revisions of the existing EU chemicals legislation including the Chemicals Control Regulation (REACH) and the Classification, Labelling and Packaging Regulation (CLP).

REACH and the CLP are the two main instruments and actual cornerstones of the EU chemicals legislation. They will be simultaneously reopened and revised between now and the end of 2022, with the affirmed objective to improve the protection of people and the environment in line with the Green Deal’s ambition. While the CSS announces this revision and the reinforcement of the existing provision, it provides little clarity as to the exact scope of the revision plan. It is thus rather unclear how important such revisions are intended to be.

On May 4, 2021, the European Commission published two important roadmaps that provide insights on the intentions of the EU executive on the framework for the revised REACH and CLP. The Commission elaborates on the legal and regulatory options that it can consider. Although targeted, the options envisaged by the Commission will certainly lead to significant revisions to the REACH and CLP, and in fact may in some instances constitute a real shift in paradigm.

Continue reading for additional background on the roadmaps and the implications for REACH and CLP in the future.


Continue Reading EU Green Deal: EC Releases Roadmaps Toward an Ambitious Revision of REACH and CLP

The EU Green Deal announces the circular economy goal, which can only be achieved with the full mobilization of society and industry through the implementation of an integral EU policy for sustainability. Products and services should progressively become more “sustainable”, “environmentally friendly” and “green” and, ultimately, more respectful to the environment and society.

In line with this new trend, more and more companies advertise their products using a wide variety of “sustainability” and “green claims” (we note that the two terms do not have the same meaning, but will not focus on this distinction in the present short overview). Consumers often report being lost when navigating among all these numerous ecological labels, sustainability certification schemes and various self-made claims. Inevitably, this difficulty has a negative impact on brand credibility, the level playing field among the operators on the market and the overall level of consumer trust.

In such context, the European Commission has announced that companies will soon have to substantiate any sustainability or green claims they use in line with new harmonized EU rules and, most likely, a standard EU methodology capable of assessing, in a uniform manner, the impacts of products and services on the environment. These rules may also be accompanied by specific EU measures against “greenwashing”, possibly including sanctions. The forthcoming legislation should ensure fair competition on the EU market and boost the consumers’ trust.

In this Blog Post, we discuss important considerations for any company advertising sustainability or green claims, as well as the coming EU regulation in this space.


Continue Reading Advertising “Sustainability” and “Green Claims” in Products and Services in the EU: Fancy Commercial Practice Can Be a Real Legal Challenge