The Initiative aims to promote sustainability in both the batteries value chain and the growing electric vehicle market.

By Paul A. Davies and Federica Rizzo

On 28 May 2020, the European Commission (EC) published its Inception Impact Assessment (IIA) to modernize the EU’s batteries legislation, in particular Directive 2006/66/EC of 6 September 2006 on batteries and accumulators, and waste batteries and accumulators (the so-called “Batteries Directive”).

The Initiative is in line with the European Green Deal, which promotes the decarbonisation of the EU economy to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. The legislative proposal is also based on the Strategic Action Plan on Batteries adopted by the EC[i] in 2018, which promotes the growth of safe and sustainable battery production, and a better functioning of the internal market as concerns batteries, products incorporating batteries, and recycled materials.

Do European Commission ambitions signal a new, more sustainable direction of travel for the EU and globally?

By Paul Davies and Michael Green

On 27 May 2020, the European Commission (the Commission) announced a €750 billion stimulus fund aimed at helping the economies of the EU member states recover from the shock sustained as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Through this fund, officially titled Next Generation EU, the Commission hopes to “build back better”, through channels that contribute to a greener, more sustainable and resilient society. When combined with the proposed €1.1 trillion EU budget for the next seven years, the Commission’s wider recovery plan comes to a total of €1.85 trillion.

The plan follows the Commission’s Green Deal, which was announced in December 2019. The Green Deal was proposed as a framework of legislation from which the bloc could achieve its goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. To decarbonise the economy, the Green Deal envisages government spending and public initiatives worth €100 billion per year, according to the Commission’s European Green Deal Investment Plan. Discussions surrounding the Green Deal had gained traction prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as considerations on how best to tackle the social and economic issues raised by the transition to a carbon-free economy.

The Action Plan is part of the European Green Deal promoting actions to boost the efficient use of resources by moving to a cleaner and more competitive Europe.

By Paul A. Davies, Michael D. Green and Federica Rizzo

On 11 March 2020, the European Commission published its Communication to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee, and the Committee of the Regions laying down the details of a new “Circular Economy Action Plan For a Cleaner and more Competitive Europe”.

The first Circular Economy Action Plan, which entered into force in 2018, led to the adoption and implementation of measures regulating the entire lifecycle of products, from production and consumption to waste management and the creation of a market for secondary raw materials.

Analysing whether the new Green Deal policies will help the EU achieve climate neutrality. 

By Paul A. Davies and Michael D. Green

On 11 December 2019, the European Commission adopted the European Green Deal (Green Deal), initially proposed earlier in the year by the Commission’s President Ursula von der Leyen. The Commission also presented a communication (the Communication) on the Green Deal to the European Parliament. The Green Deal is intended to map out Europe’s strategy to becoming the first climate-neutral continent, by proposing a number of measures to reduce the continent’s greenhouse gas emissions and increasing biodiversity. This blog post will consider some of the Green Deal’s new proposals, and how those proposals aim to achieve the Commission’s “ambitious” targets.

4 Key Green Deal Policies

The Green Deal introduces a number of new policies that form the framework of what the EU terms, “the sustainable future”. These policies vary, both in terms of the areas they target and the level of detail the Green Deal currently provides on them. However, the Commission hopes that these measures will improve the EU’s green credentials and ensure the benefits of the transition to a zero carbon economy are felt by the whole population. Key policies include:

ECJ Decision Examines Definition of ‘Waste’ for Transboundary Consignments

Request for preliminary ruling from the Hague Court of Appeal confirms that the concepts of “waste” and “discard” must be interpreted broadly.

By Paul A. Davies and Michael D. Green

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) recently handed down its judgment in response to a request for a preliminary ruling in criminal proceedings against Tronex BV (Case C-624/17), a Dutch wholesaler of residual consignments of electronic goods. The case concerns the transboundary shipment of electronic and electrical appliances to a third party in Tanzania.

This blog will examine the legislative framework and facts underpinning the case, and the ECJ’s discussion and decision.

The guidelines, along with three new reports on green finance, demonstrate the European Commission’s intent in respect of meeting its Paris Agreement targets.

By Paul A. Davies, Michael D. Green and Clément Pradille

On June 18, 2019, the European Commission (Commission) published new guidelines on corporate climate-related information reporting, as well as three new reports by the Technical Expert Group on Sustainable Finance (TEG), as part of the Commission’s Sustainable Finance Action Plan (Action Plan). The new guidelines provide companies with information and recommendations to support their approach to reporting the impact of their activities on climate change, and also how climate change impacts the business of those companies.

Understanding the Guidelines

The Commission published its guidelines on reporting climate change-related information (2019 Guidelines) under the Non-Financial Reporting Directive 2014/95/EU (Directive). The 2019 Guidelines are part of the Action Plan, which was published in March 2018 and aims to reorient capital toward sustainable investment, manage financial risks arising from climate change, and foster transparency and a long-term view in financial and economic activities.

The significant extension aims to manage plastic waste in an environmentally sound manner and support less developed nations that import waste.

By Paul A. Davies and Michael D. Green

On May 10, 2019, following two weeks of negotiations involving 1,400 delegates, at the Conferences of Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, it was agreed to extend the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal (the Basel Convention) to include plastic waste (as well as making certain changes to the Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions). The framework regarding the Basel Convention will look to implement a transparent and traceable system for the export and import of most plastic wastes under which exporting states must now obtain prior written consent from importing states.

This development represents a step change in the global management of plastic waste and places plastic waste within a globally recognised legal standard for the control of international movements of waste.