As part of its “European Green Deal”, the European Commission intends to significantly regulate and reduce the use of chemicals and pesticides, while encouraging innovation for the development of “safe and sustainable alternatives”. An emphasis will also be put on the creation of sustainable urban planning.
The Green Deal is a strategic document presented by the new President of the Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, that pinpoints how the EU will seek to review all the relevant policies to mitigate and adapt to climate change. You can find the document and its annexes with an estimated timetable on when the actions will be taken in attachment. For the moment, the Green Deal is more about setting trajectories rather than hard targets and deliverables. These will emerge as proposals to implement the Green Deal are released.
Please find below the most important pieces of the programme that will affect the pest management sector:
Despite the fact that the Commission recognises the key role of the chemical industry in the European economy, the Green Deal leaves no room for doubt that chemicals will be even more heavily regulated in the future.
Two separate strategies will be put forward in the next two years:
• During the summer 2020, a strategy focusing on the sustainable use of chemicals will be presented, with the objective to “ensure a toxic-free environment”. This will notably address the registration and authorisation process for active substances. This is likely to be of direct relevance for our sector.
•In 2021, a plan with concrete measures to reduce “significantly” the usage of chemical pesticides will be submitted. It is already clear that this plan will include legislative measures. We could potentially see some substance being banned and/or the implementation of EU-wide usage reduction targets.
Biocides are not explicitly mentioned but they will certainly be included in the Chemical Strategy, and any measures related to pesticides can easily impact biocidal products.
The Commission also intends to boost innovation in order to find sustainable alternatives to chemicals products. In a general manner, the Commission would like private and public funding to be more easily available to projects and products that help Europe adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change. These measures would notably impact SMEs, so that high-potential ideas could be scaled-up rapidly. Perhaps this will provide opportunities for pest managers.
Urban areas will also be impacted, as the Commission would like future urban development planning to include a sustainable dimension. This would be achieved in collaboration with local authorities, notably through the Covenant of Mayors. Once again, there may be an opportunity to promote our sector in this context.