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Industry

  • The Retail Forum aims to generate a better understanding of the practical measures needed to promote sustainable consumption and production. Over time the result should be greater availability of environment-friendly and energy-efficient products in the shops and better information to consumers on how to use products in the most ecological way (for example, washing clothes at low temperature).
  • The Directive concerning integrated pollution prevention and control (IPPC) is a cornerstone of EU legislation addressing industrial installations with a high pollution potential. Such installations may only be operated if the operator holds a permit containing requirements for the protection of air, water and soil, waste minimisation, accident prevention and, if necessary, site clean-up. These requirements must be based on the principle of best available techniques (BAT).
  • The public has the right to know about emissions from industrial installations: this is why the Commission created the European Pollutant Emissions Register (EPER). In the future the emissions data of approximately 20,000 industrial facilities will be accessible over the internet.
  • As part of the EU's policy towards encouraging voluntary action for the environment, the Commission set up the Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) - a management tool to help companies and other organisations to evaluate, report and improve their environmental performance. Several thousand organisations from the EU Member States and Norway have already joined the scheme. The European Commission has committed itself to implement EMAS in its own services and buildings.
  • The European Eco-label to make it easier for consumers to find products with a lower impact on the environment. Its easily recognisable flower logo is used throughout the EU, as well as in Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. The scheme will shortly be extended to services, such as tourism.
  • 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.
  • The environmental impact of major industrial installations is already subject to an assessment at the project stage, according to the Directive on the assessments of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment.
  • The Directive on the control of major-accident hazards involving dangerous substances aims at minimising the risk of industrial accidents and their consequences.
  • All products cause environmental degradation in some way, whether from their manufacturing, use or disposal. Integrated Product Policy (IPP) seeks to minimise these by looking at all phases of a products' life-cycle and taking action where it is most effective.
  • Part of IPP looks at ways in which the market can encourage the adoption of greener products and services. One aspect of this is encouraging green public procurement. Public purchasers spend a sum equivalent to 16% of EU GDP every year and so can have an important impact. The European Commission facilitates action in this field through the provision of information tools and the circulation of best practice.

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