EU chemicals strategy roundtable prepares for inaugural meeting


The European Commission has selected the members of its much anticipated high-level roundtable that will support actions under its new chemicals strategy. But conflicting interests may mean common ground is hard to come by for implementing ambitious controls on substances of concern.

The 32 members will meet virtually on 5 May for three hours with the Commission presenting its expectations of the roundtable’s role and the implementation of the strategy.

The main discussion will be on the social and economic dimensions of industry transition to safe and sustainable chemicals. This follows an inaugural workshop on the subject held on 19 March.

The roundtable comprises representatives from five trade bodies: Cefic, SMEunited, Cosmetics Europe, Eurometaux, and the soaps and detergents association Aise. It includes top executives from chemical industry titans Henkel, Covestro and Solvay, food ingredients producer Corbion and retailer Coop Denmark. The remaining positions were allotted to civil society, scientific and international organisations.

In total 116 entities applied for membership. The Commission said it has a “well-balanced” composition of different groups of stakeholders, but there was criticism of limited downstream industrial perspective.

Member Joel Tickner, a professor at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, said there could have been stronger participation from the “hidden middle” of the supply chain, such as converters and formulators.

The group is expected to meet twice a year and will be chaired by environment commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius and internal market commissioner Thierry Breton. Portugal, which currently holds the presidency of the Council of the EU, is the only member state participant, though its seat will rotate every six months in tandem with the presidency.

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Chemical Watch, 23 April 2021