Commission adopts Green Paper on Integrated Product Policy

Commission launches public debate on new strategy to improve environmental performance of products throughout lifecycle

The Commission launched a broad public debate on a new strategy to improve theenvironmental performance of productsthroughout their lifecycle. By adopting the Green Paper on Integrated Product Policy, the Commission wants to start a dialogue with stakeholder during the first half of 2001.

Integrated Product Policy(IPP) is a new concept in environmental policy and one of the major elements of the 6th Environmental Action Programme. It consists of a mix of instruments aimed at greening a broad range of products throughout their whole economic life-cycle.

The EU's proposed IPP hasthree main goals:

  • to stimulate consumerdemandfor greener products, by giving better information and providing eco-labelling,
  • to stimulate business leadership in thesupplyof green products (e.g. eco-design, integration of environmental aspects into standardisation)
  • use theprice mechanismto develop markets for greener products (e.g. reduced VAT rates on eco-labelled products)

The Commission will organise a workshop with stakeholders on 8-9 March 2001. All interested groups can send in their comments to the Green Paper until end of June 2001. The results of thestakeholders' consultationwill be presented in the form of a Communication scheduled for the second part of 2001. A White Paper will be published later.

In a first reaction, theEuropean Environmental Bureau(EEB) expressed its disappointment about the Green Paper. It welcomes the inclusion in the proposals of a broad range of instruments such as fiscal incentives and lower VAT on green products, but disagrees with the passive role the Commission gives itself in the Green Paper. The EEB also says the new IPP document "fails to address the most important item, being to tell exactly which environmental objectives IPP is aiming to achieve".

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