Joint statement on the 1st meeting of the High-Level Roundtable on the implementation of the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability

Defining Europe’s “essential” chemical for society

Effective and coherent implementation of the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability will lay important foundations for achieving the goals of the European Green Deal, which we, the undersigned, fully support.  We are honoured to have been appointed as members of this vitally important High-Level Roundtable and we thank Commissioner Sinkevičius and Commissioner Breton for leading an insightful first discussion today.

Responding to the European Commission’s call to all members of the High-Level Roundtable, we will play our part in building on the most advanced chemical safety legislation in the world, and continue our efforts to further develop and invest in safe and sustainable substances. We all share the same goals as the Commission for a system that ensures there is no harm to people or the environment and supports the industry’s investments into more innovative solutions manufactured on European soil. We acknowledge the central role of SMEs in this transition process and their delicate situation, which needs to be addressed with extraordinary care in the upcoming discussions, along with the need to consider specificities of each value chain in this process.

With more than 80 legislative and non-legislative measures to be rolled out over the coming years, the natural question is which policies should be prioritised to accelerate this Strategy towards success?

First, creating a toolkit of stronger measures to enforce existing chemicals legislation at the EU border would make an enormous difference to public health and environment. Enforcement would also reassure those who comply with legislation and invest in sustainable chemistry that their competitiveness will remain safeguarded.

Another important driver for the success of the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability would be to prioritise the development of mechanisms to accelerate Safe and Sustainable-by-Design innovation here in Europe in coherence with the climate transition and circularity objectives. Defining what constitutes “Safe and Sustainable” must come first, while sustainability must be achieved without compromise on safety. Introducing clear market incentives will always drive growth of industrial change faster than by introducing wider bans and restrictions.

Working together with policymakers, civil society and academia, we must ensure that implementation of the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability helps, not hinders, successful delivery of Europe’s Green Deal and strategic autonomy. The industry is ready to play its role in supporting this work, aiding the transition towards a climate-neutral and circular economy.

We hope to be able to discuss these and other important topics with all other members of this Roundtable during future meetings.

The undersigned members of the High-Level Roundtable on the implementation of the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability:

  • Heather Barker, Vice-President of the Board of Directors of A.I.S.E. (International Association for Soaps, Detergents and maintenance Products)
  • Martin Brudermüller,President of the European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic)
  • Sjoerd Dijkstra,Global Lead for Strategic Marketing and Sustainability, Covestro
  • Ilham Kadri,CEO, Solvay
  • Sylvie Nicol, Executive Vice President HR and Infrastructure Services, Henkel
  • Guy Thiran, Director General, Eurometaux
  • Hervé Toutain,President of Cosmetics Europe
  • Véronique Willems,Secretary General, SMEunited

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