Today (14 October) the EU has launched its Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability, a key element of the EU's Green Deal and an essential component of the EU's transition to a green and digital economy.  It is an ambitious programme (or possibly 'overwhelming', as Cefic put it at a Chemical Watch event today on key regulatory issues in Europe) with two main objectives: 

  • Better protection for citizens and the environment; and
  • Boosting innovation for safe and sustainable chemicals.

There are a host of actions including more bans, a greater focus on sustainability throughout the life cycle of chemicals (including energy consumption, recycling and fate in the natural environment) and a focus on incentivising the game-changing innovation that will be needed to deliver the ambition of zero pollution, climate neutral, non toxic chemistry by 2050. 

I was speaking at that same Chemical Watch event, sharing the agenda with the Head of Unit for Sustainable Chemistry at the European Commission, Cristina de Avila  and the Executive Director for the European Chemicals Agency, Bjorn Hansen. 

My topic was the impact of Brexit and the future of UK REACH.  The contrast with the UK, where a huge amount of effort and money will be spent between now and 2027 just to replicate the 2020 version of EU chemicals law, is stark.  I was asked about the prospect of divergence between EU REACH and UK REACH.  Listening to the discussions today, the conclusion appears obvious.