Current EU policies lead to more use of chemicals, less recycling



Current EU policies for mobile and textile production often let member states shape the laws and their implementation themselves. This leads to more use of chemicals and less sustainable waste management, research by the SMART project shows.

EU member states often get to decide themselves how to implement regulation for the textile and mobile industries. This leads to more use of potentially toxic chemicals and less sustainable waste management, research by the SMART project shows. Photo: Ayotunde Oguntoyinbo

“The EU today has a wide range of sustainability-oriented policies and regulations, but there is a lack of coherence and sufficiently stringent and enforceable regulation,” says Beate Sjafjell. She is a law professor at Norway’s University of Oslo, and the leader of the Sustainable Market Actors for Responsible Trade (SMART) project.

“Reforms adopted by the EU to promote sustainability often give a broad scope to the member states on how to implement these. Unfortunately, member states tend to aim for minimum implementation, out of fears of jeopardising their own competitive position or that of their businesses,” Sjafjell says.

The SMART project comprises researchers from 25 institutions from around the world and is funded by the EU’s research and innovation programme Horizon 2020. It studies the environmental and social footprints of global supply chains for clothes and mobile phones.

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