The European Parliament and Council are in the last stages of the legislative procedure to adopt a Regulation on Batteries and Waste Batteries (“Sustainable Batteries Regulation”), which the European Commission proposed in December 2020. Among other many requirements, the proposed Sustainable Batteries Regulation will require manufacturers to ensure that the portable batteries contained in their electronic devices are removable and replaceable. These requirements will apply to a large variety of electronic devices, including household appliances, IT, telecommunications equipment, and medical devices. They are part of a broader sustainable products package that includes other legislative proposals, such as the Commission proposal for a Regulation on Ecodesign Requirements for Sustainable Products and an upcoming legislative initiative on the right to repair, and will require manufacturers to redesign the electronic devices that they market in the European Union and European Economic Area (“EU/EEA”).
Cándido García Molyneux is a Spanish of counsel in the Brussels office of Covington & Burling. His practice focuses on EU environmental law, renewable energies, and international trade law. He advises clients on legal issues concerning environmental product regulation, emissions trading, renewable energies, energy efficiency, shale gas, chemical law, product safety, waste management, and international trade law and non-tariff trade barriers. Mr. García Molyneux was very much involved in the legislative process that led to the revision and amendment of the ETS Directive and Renewable Energies Directive. He is an external professor of environmental law and policy at the College of Europe.
On February 2, 2022, the European Commission adopted a Complementary Climate Delegated Act (the “CCDA”) listing specific gas and nuclear activities as “environmentally sustainable” for purposes of the EU Taxonomy Regulation, subject to strict criteria. Only certain activities that comply with strict emissions limits and other criteria detailed below may be so designated. Even so, the Commission’s decision to list nuclear and gas activities as “environmentally sustainable” is controversial and may still be blocked by EU Member States and the European Parliament through an upcoming scrutiny period, and may also be legally challenged before the EU Courts. Nevertheless there is a significant chance that the Commission’s criteria to consider the listed gas and nuclear activities as “environmentally sustainable” will enter into force by the beginning of 2023. This would allow such listed gas and nuclear activities to have access to green investors and ear-marked public funds under the EU’s Next Generation EU investment program.
Continue Reading Gas and Nuclear Activities in the EU Taxonomy Regulation: Under What Conditions Does the Commission Deem Them Environmentally Sustainable?
The Italian Legislative Decree 196/2021 (“Italian Decree”) implementing the Single-Use Plastic Directive (“SUPD”) will enter into force on January 14, 2022. The Italian Decree diverges from the SUPD on significant aspects: it provides a more flexible definition of plastic; delays the entry into force of the ban on prohibited SUPs; and exempts from such ban specific biodegradable and compostable materials. The Decree also imposes specific return obligations on waste plastic bottles.
While the Italian Decree provides companies with additional flexibilities to market their SUPs in Italy, companies should carefully assess the risks that may arise if EU Courts finally hold that the Decree is not compatible with EU law.…
Last December, the European Commission published its legislative Package on Hydrogen and Decarbonized Markets (“Package”), which proposes new rules aiming to develop a hydrogen market in the EU. The new rules bring much awaited legal clarity to the concepts and role of blue and green hydrogen within the EU’s energy regulatory framework for the climate transition.
In effect, the Commission’s legislative Package is intended to promote the use of blue hydrogen until at least 2030 provided that it achieves the same decarbonization as green hydrogen (i.e., 70% GHG reduction). However, the European Parliament and Council may amend both the proposed definition and conditions of blue hydrogen and the proposed regulative incentives during their consideration of the Package and its adoption through the legislative procedure that will now follow. Moreover, the European Commission will be empowered to develop much of the methodologies implementing the definitions of blue and green hydrogen. Companies intending to engage in blue and green hydrogen operations in the EU/EEA would be well advised to closely follow these developments.…
On July 14, the European Commission presented its legislative proposal for a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (“CBAM”). This long-anticipated tool is intended to make importers pay for the greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions embedded in the covered goods that they market in the EU. A Covington webinar on the main elements of the proposal and related policy considerations is available here.
Continue Reading Will the EU CBAM Cover More Than What You Think? Complex Goods, System Boundaries, and Circumvention Under the Commission’s CBAM Proposal
The European Commission is currently discussing a draft of a proposal for a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (“CBAM”) Regulation that it is expected to present on July 14, 2021. A CBAM was already announced in the European Commission’s Communication for a Green Deal and is intended to protect the EU’s domestic industry that is at risk of carbon leakage—to create a level playing field—and to serve as a policy tool to encourage third countries to reduce their greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions.
Continue Reading Twelve Things to Know About the Upcoming EU Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism
In December 2020, the European Commission presented a proposal for a new Regulation on Batteries and Waste Batteries (see Covington’s webinar on the proposal). The proposed Regulation seeks to achieve the objectives set out in the European Green Deal and subsequent strategies, such as the transition to a carbon neutral and circular economy and the growth of renewable energies and clean mobility. The European Parliament and Council are currently considering the proposal for its adoption through the ordinary legislative procedure, which is not likely to be completed before mid-2022.
Continue Reading Upcoming EU Environmental and Human Rights Supply Chain Due Diligence Requirements for Rechargeable Industrial Batteries and E-Vehicle Batteries
As of January 5, 2021, all EU suppliers of articles containing a REACH Candidate List substance in a concentration above 0,1% must submit a notification to the European Chemicals Agency (“ECHA”). The new notification requirement – so-called “SCIP notification” – may apply to virtually all types of “objects” supplied in the EU, and is an additional step in the EU’s implementation of its Circular Economy strategy. It is intended to help ECHA create a database of articles containing particular hazardous substances that will be accessible to waste treatment operators, consumers, and public authorities. …
Continue Reading New EU SCIP Chemical Notification Requirements Enter into Force
Last week, the European Commission launched a public consultation on the possible adoption of a new EU Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (“CBAM”). This consultation is yet another of the initiatives that the Commission is taking to roll out its ambitious European Green Deal (for a recent overview webinar see here). Manufacturers in virtually all industrial sectors and their trade associations would be wise to assess the potential impact of the CBAM on the products they market in Europe and to consider participating in the public consultation and comment process.
Continue Reading The Green Deal at the Border: Public Consultation on the EU Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism Launched
Since July 4, 2020 the manufacture, marketing and use of perfluorooctanoic acid (“PFOA”), its salts and PFOA-related compounds (collectively, “PFOAs”), and products containing them, is significantly restricted in the European Economic Area (“EU/EEA”). The restrictions were introduced by a Commission Delegated Regulation amending Annex I to the EU POPs Regulation, and are intended to implement a decision of the ninth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Stockholm Convention that was held from April 29 to May 10, 2019.
Continue Reading Manufacturers and Marketers Beware: The EU Adopts New Restrictions on Products Containing PFOAs