Sustainability governs all policies and sectors of social and economic life. The goal of sustainable development is to meet the needs of today’s generations without compromising the self-sufficiency of future generations. Companies are called upon to innovate as economic conditions indicate a change in the direction of sustainability. Sustainability considerations and green developments have increasingly caught the attention of competition law’s enforcers. Competition authorities such as the European Commission (“Commission”), the Hellenic Competition Commission (“HCC”), the Dutch Competition Authority (“ACM”) and the German Competition Authority (“Bka”) have taken a positive stance towards accepting sustainability initiatives proposed by the private sector. How can companies balance both sustainability and competition law? In this blog post, we analyze recent developments that further explain the sustainability framework that companies have to navigate.
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?
As of July 3, single-use plastic products marketed in the EU/EEA must comply with the requirements and restrictions of Directive 2019/904 on the Reduction of the Impact of Certain Plastic Products on the Environment (“Single-Use Plastic Directive” – “SUPD”). To help Member States implement the SUPD into their national laws and apply its requirements, on May 31, 2021, the European Commission published its long-awaited Guidelines on the Scope of the SUPD. The Guidelines take different and controversial approaches on the scope the SUPD and the nature of plastics and continue to leave important issues unanswered. …
Continue Reading New EU Restrictions on Single-Use Plastic Products to Enter into Force
On April 21, 2021, the European Commission approved “in principle” a Delegated Regulation establishing the criteria under which different economic activities substantially contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation under Regulation 2020/852 on the Establishment of a Framework to Facilitate Sustainable Investment (“Taxonomy Regulation”). Among other things, the Delegated Regulation defines the climate mitigation and adaptation criteria that the manufacture of hydrogen must meet to be considered a “sustainable investment” in the European Union.
Continue Reading The European Commission Approves the EU Criteria on Sustainable Hydrogen Activities
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