News from Brussels, Strasbourg and Berlin

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Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR), Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD), EU Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) and Forced Labour Regulation – you can’t say that the regulators in Brussels and Strasbourg are letting themselves down just before the European elections in June. We present the latest developments in compact form and take a special look at the new social sustainability regulations.


Now it’s here, the PPWR – or not?

In its last session of the current legislative period on 24 April 2024, the European Parliament voted by a large majority in favour of the new EU Packaging Regulation (PPWR). There were 476 votes in favour, 129 against and 24 abstentions. The regulation has therefore been adopted.  You can find out exactly what this means and what the next steps and timetables are in our article on the PPWR and in great detail in our special newsletter in June 2024.


CSRD: transposition into national law

The transposition of the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive into national law is progressing. The EU member states must transpose the CSRD into national law by July 2024.

  • In Germany, the corresponding draft for the implementation of the CSR-Directive was sent to the federal states and associations on 22 March 2024.
  • It is interesting to discuss whether only accredited auditors can audit the CSRD statement (as proposed in the draft bill) or if independent accredited experts are also authorised to do so. This would not only significantly expand the audit market but would also provide companies with critical expertise.
  • To put it more succinctly: should CSRD reporting be a tool to strengthen more sustainable business practices in companies or an exclusive domain for auditors with no real and positive impact? There is an exciting discussion about this on LinkedIn, based on a statement by the German Sustainable Business Association (BNW).

We have compiled 10 tips for implementing the CSRD for you in a separate article.


Update on the introduction of plastic taxes in various EU countries

The plastic tax in Italy, which was to be introduced on 1 July (after 6 postponements), is likely to be postponed again. In principle, the implementing provisions must be published 6 weeks before a regulation becomes active. This is not the case (13.05.2024), so 1 July is no longer tenable.

The introduction of the plastic tax in Germany has also been postponed from 2025 to 2026.

We will publish a detailed report on the status of plastic taxes in Europe in our next newsletter.


New draft EU regulation to ban BPA in food contact materials

Bisphenol A in food contact materials and articles is governed by EU legislation. Based on the EFSA’s scientific reassessment of 19 April 2023, the European Commission published a draft regulation on 9 February 2024 for a ban on the intentional use of bisphenol A in the manufacture of food contact materials made of plastics, paints and coatings, ion exchange resins, rubber, printing inks and adhesives. This includes packaging.

The draft then went through the feedback process and the comments of those involved are now being incorporated. The next draft is expected in the next few weeks.  It is already clear that the heavily criticised monitoring of the paper industry (BPA residues from the use of waste paper) will probably not take place.


Draft of the EU Forced Labour Regulation

On 24.04.2024, the European Parliament approved the draft regulation on the ban of products made with forced labour. This draft still has to be finally approved by the EU Council, probably in the third quarter of 2024.

The regulation introduces measures to enforce the ban, including due diligence investigations, new IT solutions and cross-border cooperation between authorities. If forced labour is suspected in companies’ supply chains, appropriate checks will be initiated and, if confirmed, the goods concerned can be withdrawn from the market and confiscated at borders. Companies that violate the regulations will be fined.


CSDDD clears another hurdle

The European Parliament adopted the revised Corporate Sustainability Design Directive (CSDDD, also known as CS3D) on 24 April 2024. The directive must be formally approved by the Council, signed and published in the Official Journal of the EU before it enters into force, which will take around twenty days. Member states will then have two years to transpose the new rules into national law.

Read more about the EU Forced Labour Regulation and CSDDD in our article: Strengthening social sustainability in supply chains.


EUDR: focus on risk classification and timetable

As things stand today, the requirements of the EU Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) would affect all companies that process virgin fibres in their packaging products from 30 December 2024. However, there are currently many discussions as to whether or not the EU will postpone the implementation schedule.

  • In March, it was announced that all countries would be categorised as standard risk for the first time, after developing and emerging countries complained to the Commission about the impracticable requirements of the EUDR.
    • This may help some producers of coffee and other food raw materials, but at the same time it increases the pressure on companies in the packaging industry. They had hoped to be able to save themselves the time-consuming due diligence processes involving checking geodata and legal land rights by classifying the Scandinavian countries where virgin fibres originate as low risk, for example.
  • The time-consuming reviews and sometimes impractical requirements in relation to the definition of land rights, have led to numerous calls for implementation to be postponed and/or watered down.
    • So far, the Commission is still holding out against this and is supported by parts of civil society.
    • On 8 April 2024, EU Environment Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius said in an interview: The European Union has no plans to delay a new law to crack down on the import of goods linked to deforestation (although some governments are urging Brussels to postpone the groundbreaking rules).

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    Jenny Walther-Thoß