Celebration as environment trumps industry agenda


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“Zero pollution” and “non-toxic environment” pledges overcame industry opposition to become last minute additions to the European Green Deal, announced this afternoon.

Ursula von der Leyen promised a zero pollution goal in her successful pitch to become European Commission president. The European Parliament and Council have long backed a non-toxic environment strategy to tackle what the European Environment Agency and civil society describe as a serious and growing chemical pollution problem.

The chemical industry is worth €500 billion a year and is owned by some of Europe’s richest and most powerful individuals.

Industry chief Marco Mensink wanted a “European chemicals industry industrial policy” and railed against the non-toxic environment title, reportedly saying:

“We don’t need new legislation, we don’t need a non-toxic environment. Sorry, environment ministers, we don’t like the word and we don’t need it.”

Both non-toxic environment and zero pollution were written out of one draft of the green deal in a section focused on chemical policy. In their place were a host of industry asks and buzzwords.

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