Posted on 21/09/2021 in Fire Safety Regulatory 2021
“Taxonomy”: defining sustainable activities

Public consultation on draft recommendations for criteria specifying industries/activities eligible for EU Taxonomy funding. Open to 24th September 18h00 CEST (not midnight). The draft recommendations (developed by the EU Platform on Sustainable Finance) propose criteria for economic activities / industries considered environmentally sustainable under the provisions of the Taxonomy Regulation. The EU Taxonomy may also become a communication tool for private investors, markets and other public policy tools.
The unified EU-wide classification system (“EU Taxonomy”) aims to establish a dynamic list of economic activities, with technical screening criteria (TSC), determining in which cases each economic activity makes a ‘substantial contribution’ to an environmental objective. The Taxonomy Regulation (2020/852) defines six environmental objectives: Climate change mitigation, Climate change adaptation, Water and marine resources, Circular economy, Pollution prevention and control, Biodiversity and ecosystems.
The consultation is based on a report (with accompanying Technical Annex) published by the EU Platform on Sustainable Finance (via the Technical Expert Group) outlining draft recommendations to classify an economic activity as environmentally sustainable under the Taxonomy Regulation. Economic activities covered include chemicals, firefighting, construction and maintenance of buildings, textiles, IT, transport and energy, among others.
For 2.3 “Manufacture of chemicals” and 2.4 “Manufacture of chemicals products”, it is specified that “The aim is to produce safe alternatives to priority hazardous substances in safer process conditions to reduce pollution”. Proposed criteria are that

  • produced substance (output) must not have certain “hazardous” properties: PBT or VPvB or “equivalent concern”, PMT or vPvM (mobility, when this is introduced into CLP), endocrine disruptors, respiratory or skin sensitisers, zone damaging, known or suspected carcinogen, mutagen, reprotoxic or specific target organ toxicity (Cat 1 or 2), chronic aquatic environment; AND
  • the process must not use (input) any SVHC; AND
  • the produced substance must substitute a substance of concern

The process must also demonstrate emission levels “below the mid-point of the BAT-AEL ranges”, show climate change emissions below EU ETS median, achieve water treatment criteria and show no negative impacts on water scarcity, biodiversity …
For 2.6 “Manufacture of durable electrical and electronic equipment” and 2.7 “Manufacture of circular electrical and electronic equipment”, if EU Ecolabel or GPP criteria are not defined for the product family, then design for recyclability DNSH criteria (“Do No Significant Harm”, Annex B, pages 203-204) specify that “Plastic parts do not contain halogenated flame retardants” and that plastic parts other than cables must not contain chlorinated polymers, in both cases with some derogations.
The document also proposes criteria for (7.6) “Emergency services – firefighting”, which include impacts on water resources of “harmful substances in firefighting foams, fire extinguishing agents, fire retardants”.
Under 5.2 “Construction of new buildings and major renovations …” and 5.2 “Acquisition and ownership of buildings”, neither fire safety nor thermal insulation are mentioned.

EU consultation on proposed “Taxonomy », open to 24th September 18h00 only (not midnight) CEST. The report and annex with proposed criteria are available at this link.

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